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News release

Solicitors Regulation Authority launches investigation

The Solicitors Regulation Authority announced today that it had launched a formal investigation into the role of solicitors in events surrounding the News of the World phone hacking crisis, including concerns raised by Tom Watson MP.

The SRA's Chief Executive Antony Townsend said: "On the basis of our preliminary review of the material in the public domain, we have decided to instigate a formal investigation. The first step in this investigation is to obtain the evidence necessary to ensure a thorough investigation, using the powers we have under the Solicitors Act 1974. We have set that in hand today. Further decisions will depend upon the review of that evidence and any further inquiries we need to make.

"We will pursue our investigation vigorously and thoroughly, but emphasise that our inquiries are at an early stage, and that no conclusions have been reached about whether there may have been any impropriety by any solicitor."

The initial stages of SRA investigations are confidential, but any formal regulatory action arising from them would become a matter of public record.