SRA UpdateIssue 60 – January 2017Foreword from the Chief ExecutiveWelcome to Issue 60 of SRA Update. I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year break. The end of last year certainly saw no slow down in activity. Most notably, the Competition and Markets Authority published its final report on the legal services market. It provides a good foundation for our work in 2017. It strongly endorsed our reform proposals, which will help to tackle unmet need and support members of the public and small businesses to access legal services. You can read more about our work in our new Business Plan. We have already published our initial ideas on how we can better share information to help the public and small businesses access legal services more easily, while also offering opportunities for you to grow your business. There is still time for you to send us your views on our discussion paper. In a similar vein, we are also consulting on the waivers we give to help you explore new ways of working, and ensure we are not getting in the way of forward thinking firms. You can also find the latest information on the dangers of cybercrime, and how to make sure you are aware of the risks of dubious investment schemes. As ever, we would like to know your views on any of the issues covered in this edition. Paul Philip CMA reportThe Competition and Markets Authority has published its report on legal services. We have welcomed the report and its calls for reforms to help increase access to justice for the public and small businesses. The report sets out steps to make legal services more widely available, addresses anti-competitive restrictions on where solicitors can work, and emphasises transparency as fundamental to consumer choice. It also reiterates CMA support for fully independent regulation. MoreCybercrimeWhat is the most common type of cybercrime law firms report? Our latest cybercrime report provides you with an update on the latest risks and practical advice for how you can protect yourself and your clients. It is an ever growing risk which requires constant vigilance. MoreAsylum-seeker reviewOur review of asylum-seeker work, involving 52 firms, has shown that in general the sector is working well, yet there are areas for improvement. The best practice involved strong client relationships, while poorer practice included lack of clarity on costs, an over-reliance on pro-formas and the use of unsuitable interpreters. We have produced guidance to accompany the report. MoreInvestment schemesWe have seen increasing reports and sanctions of solicitors involved in dubious investment schemes. We know the vast majority of solicitors and law firms would not knowingly become involved in such schemes, but you should all be aware of the signs. Building on our regular warnings, we have published a report to help you understand the nature of the risk, which can be so damaging to the public and the reputation of the profession. MoreChambers Solicitors - injunctionWe have secured a High Court freezing injunction as a result of concerns that money due to the now-closed Chambers Solicitors, Bradford, is being diverted to other law firms who may not be entitled to the money. We intervened into Chambers Solicitors in December because of suspected dishonesty. MoreWaivers consultationWe are consulting on proposed changes to applications for waivers so that more firms can explore innovative ways of delivering legal services. We want to remove barriers for firms to looking to develop new models without diluting the protections in place for the public and businesses. MoreVirtually having your sayA vital part of our policy development and our continuous improvement of operational processes is input from the profession on the issues that matter to you. We have created various "virtual" reference groups, who feed back their perspectives on proposals we are working on. Find out how you can get involved with one of our groups, so you can help us develop and improve our approach. MoreBusiness PlanWe have published our Business Plan for the current year, the third of our three-year Corporate Strategy. The Business Plan outlines how we will make further progress against our priorities of reforming regulation, enhancing professional standards, protecting clients, improving customer service levels and becoming more efficient. MoreBogus firmsBogus firms continue to be a problem. We have seen cases of scammers pretending to be fictitious firms or stealing the identity of existing firms, and trading on the profession's reputation to gain the confidence of unsuspecting members of the public. MoreKeeping of the RollSome of you have asked about any potential Keeping of the Roll exercise. We stopped carrying this out as an annual event in 2015. It will take place again when we feel there is a need to capture the information, but that will not be until 2018 at the earliest. MoreTouting reportsWe have heard increasing concerns about "touting" in criminal Legal Aid cases. Solicitors and their agents are banned from proactively approaching potential clients in person in a bid to increase business. If you have evidence that this is taking place, we would ask you to help us tackle this problem by letting us know. MoreConsultationsInnovationAs we said earlier, we are consulting on proposed changes to applications for waivers. These changes should remove barriers preventing solicitors and both existing and new firms from creating innovative services. We would do this while still making sure the public and business users of legal services remained protected. MoreRegulatory dataDo you have ideas on how to improve information for members of the public about solicitors and law firms? We believe that better information will help more people and small businesses access the legal services they need and find the right provider—and the CMA and others agree. We want to get your thoughts on our initial ideas in this area. You have until Thursday, 26 January, to respond to our discussion paper on regulatory data and consumer choice in legal services. MoreGuidance surveyWe are committed to helping you understand and comply with any changes we make to our regulations. We want to know the topics and areas on which you would most like guidance from us. Complete our survey and tell us about your needs and preferences. Responses are anonymous and the closing date is 30 January 2017. MoreEvent - LegalexSRA Executive Director, External Affairs, Jane Malcolm, will be a key speaker at the Legalex event at the end of March. The event, which is free for those who register in advance, takes place at the ExCel in London, 28–29 March. MoreSubscription How to unsubscribe To unsubscribe, please complete our unsubscribe form . We cannot process unsubscribe requests submitted by email. How to subscribe - if you are regulated by the SRA As a regulated individual, please simply ensure that the SRA has your current contact email address on record. To ensure we have your current email address, log in to mySRA and check your profile. No subscription request is required. We recommend that you ask your network administrator to ensure that bulk email with "SRA Update" in the subject line is not filtered as spam. If you do not wish to receive SRA Update, please unsubscribe. How to subscribe - if you're not regulated by the SRA If you are not regulated by the SRA, please email a subscription request to SRAupdate@sra.org.uk. Editorial comment Please send editorial comment to SRAupdate@sra.org.uk.