News releases

Red Tape Initiative continues to gather pace

The drive by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to remove unnecessary rules and processes from the Handbook continues with the launch of the second consultation on its Red Tape Initiative.

The changes proposed in the first consultation came into effect on 1 April when version 7 of the Handbook was published. Two key proposals were approved for consultation as part of the second phase of the Red Tape Initiative by the SRA Board at its meeting on 24 April.

The first is removing the requirement on Compliance Officers of recognised bodies and recognised sole practitioners to report non-material breaches to the SRA as part of the annual information gathering exercise. The second relates to solicitors and European lawyers who are required to declare certain events, such as disciplinary sanctions, under Regulation 3.1 of the Practising Regulations when they apply for a practising certificate or registration as a European lawyer. The details of the proposal are to:

  • Remove the requirement, where Regulation 3 does apply, to start the application process six weeks before the due date for renewal
  • Confirm that a solicitor or European lawyer will not be subject to Regulation 3 of the SRA Practising Regulations 2011 if they ceased to be a manager of an authorised body or an authorised non-SRA firm or director of a company or a member of an LLP at least 36 months prior to an insolvency event
  • Clarify that a previously declared historic event need not be declared again, once an application has been granted free from any conditions in respect of that event (Regulation 3 would no longer apply, unless there is a new event to report)

If agreed, these proposals will be incorporated into the October edition of the Handbook. A third round is already being drawn up for the autumn and the initiative will continue until at least the spring of 2014. The push to reduce perceived unnecessary bureaucracy has been assisted by the outcomes-focused regulation regime, introduced in October 2011.

Richard Collins, SRA Executive Director for Policy, said: "Hopefully the profession now realises how genuine we are about the Red Tape Initiative and ensuring that it delivers real benefits. This second phase mixes issues that we have identified and suggestions made during the first consultation.

"The Red Tape Initiative is actively seeking new opportunities to reduce any administrative burdens, while at the same time giving full consideration to suggestions from the profession. We are also preparing for the third phase of the initiative because we think there is more we can do.

“We would like as many people as possible take this opportunity to offer further feedback."

The consultation closes on Friday 28 June:

More on the consultation

Print page to PDF