SRA Update

Issue 23 – March 2012

Photograph of Antony Townsend, SRA chief executive

Antony Townsend
SRA chief executive

I would like to offer my personal apologies for the delays experienced during the renewals process and to thank you for your patience.

This is the first year of operation of a new system that will transform the way in which we deliver services to the profession and regulated individuals. The long-term benefits of mySRA are numerous, but I fully understand that this has been an unsatisfactory process for many.


Lessons learned

We are keen to gain structured feedback from the profession on mySRA to drive future improvements.

A survey will be available soon—please visit www.sra.org.uk/mySRA. Your feedback will enable us to prioritise the changes we need to make.

The survey will be complemented by workshops, which Law Society Regional Managers are helping to coordinate in March and April.

Thank you in advance for your help.

We are pleased to report that a video featuring one of our contact centre staff explaining to firms how to complete practising certificate renewals online has been viewed more than 7,000 times. We hope it has been helpful to you.

More about mySRA


The 'hot potato' of referrals

In advance of parliamentary approval of the bill which will usher in a ban on referral fees in personal injury cases, we initiated a meeting with key stakeholders in London to share our concerns about how the legislation would work in practice.

More about referral fees


A promising start

We certainly underestimated the take-up of the alternative business structures (ABS) when we said last year we anticipated about 15 serious applications.

Despite the reservations held by some members of the profession, the number of applications to date shows that firms are responding to the potential that this new type of structure can bring—a very encouraging sign.

More about ABS



Case study: Paying the price

A solicitor who came before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal was alleged to have diminished the trust the public placed in her, or in the legal profession, by agreeing to be cautioned for two offences of dishonesty. The allegation was made with reference to the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007—mandatory principle 6 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 would now apply.

More

Question of ethics: Meaning of "individual" in rule 8 of the Authorisation Rules

Question: Does the reference to an "individual" in rule 8 of the Authorisation Rules 2011 include a body corporate? Our partnership is primarily made up of limited company partners.

Find out the answer

ABS shows promising take-up

Since 3 January, when we officially opened our doors as a licensing authority, we've received almost 150 requests (as at 1 March) from firms looking to become alternative business structures (ABS).

More

mySRA: We're sorry for the delays

We appreciate that delays and problems with the system have meant that the launch of mySRA, our online services portal, has caused frustration and inconvenience to many of you. We are keeping the online renewals process, available through mySRA, open for longer than originally planned, to give firms and individuals sufficient time to complete their practising certificate renewals.

More

Referrals ban: Call for greater clarity

We recently hosted a high level roundtable discussion in London to talk about how the impending ban on personal injury referrals is going to work in practice.

More

Beware of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) schemes

Take care not to get involved in any schemes which exploit perceived loopholes in tax laws to reduce, or negate, buyers' charge to paying stamp duty land tax at the risk of breaching the Code of Conduct and incurring HMRC penalties.

More

Reviewing education and training: Can you help?

Work is continuing on the various elements of education and training in the legal profession which will all feed into the Legal Education and Training Review—read about the current status of continuing professional development, work-based learning and trainees' minimum salary, and find out how you can get involved.

More

In brief

Handbook changes – Legal Ombudsman address – Red alert – Move to The Cube

More

Your views count: Current consultations

We are seeking your views on the SRA's role in the setting of a minimum salary for trainee solicitors and the potential impact of deregulation in this area.

More

Social media

SRA YouTube channel subscribers receive email alerts when we publish new video clips. About 4,500 of you already follow us on Twitter. To join our "twitterati", visit www.twitter.com/sra_solicitors.

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