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Online survey launched for salary consultation

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has launched an online survey for those who want to feedback on the consultation on whether or not the SRA should continue to set the annual minimum rate of pay for trainee solicitors.

The SRA Board decided in January to consult whether or not it was right that the Authority should set the minimum salary. The SRA took over responsibility for prescribing the compulsory minimum rate when it was formed in 2007 and the issue has not been reviewed since then.

Samantha Barrass, SRA Executive Director, said when the consultation was launched: "There is no clear evidence that setting a minimum salary fulfils any of the Legal Services Act's regulatory objectives. We do not regulate prices or rates of pay, in any other area of our work.

"We have found very few examples where this occurs with other professional regulators. It would appear setting a minimum salary does not address any identified risk to the public interest or the rule of law, nor is it clear that it improves access to the profession."

As part of the consultation, views are sought from the profession, trainees, students and other interested parties and these can be given through the online survey.

Those who wanted to deliver their feedback face-to-face have been given the opportunity to do so at a series of focus groups. Sessions have already been held in Guildford, London and Cardiff, with a further event taking place in Manchester next Tuesday and Wednesday, 13 and 14 March.

The minimum wage policy dates back to 1982 and was originally designed to protect trainees from being exploited and to encourage high-calibre graduates into the profession. The consultation exercise runs until Tuesday 10 April. The SRA Board will then meet on 16 May to make a final decision, taking into account the responses to the consultation and an impact assessment.

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