News release

"A question of trust" survey opens

Ten thousand solicitors have this week been invited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to take part in a ground-breaking new survey on professional standards.

The survey involves assessing a range of 15 different scenarios about solicitors getting into difficulty, and then scoring each on a scale of one to five on how serious the issues are and what should happen next. It is all part of the SRA's "A question of trust" campaign which runs until January 2016.

The campaign, which began last week, explores what responsibility and values mean in the legal sector as greater freedom places increasing importance on the role of individual professional responsibility in public protection. "A question of trust" will bring together feedback from the survey, from interactive road shows, public meetings and a formal consultation in the autumn, in order to provide every opportunity for people to contribute. The feedback will be used in the development of a future SRA decision-making framework.

Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: "Trust in your solicitor is critical, but trust is, as they say, hard won and easily lost. But how easily? Here at the SRA we have to ask and answer that question every day.

"We know that principles such as honesty and independence are at the heart of solicitors' professionalism, and we want to understand what that means in practice. We will be asking the profession and the public to join us as we work through scenarios about a whole range of issues, including solicitors drinking and driving, having client files stolen, misusing client accounts and even sending intimate pictures to their staff. And we will be asking what action people think we should take in the different situations.

"Our ambitious reform programme is about setting and embedding professional standards that help create an open, competitive and innovative market. Ensuring consumer protection while reducing regulation places more responsibility on individuals, so it is essential that we make sure we are getting the balance right when it comes to our decision-making and actions."

Further information on the campaign will appear on the SRA's website in due course.