SRA Update

Issue 24 – May 2012


Photograph of Samantha Barrass, SRA Executive Director Education and Training, Supervision, Risk and International Affairs

Samantha Barrass,
Executive Director, Education and Training, Supervision, Risk and International Affairs

We're pleased to announce that you will be able to nominate your compliance officer for legal practice (COLP)and your compliance officer for finance and administration (COFA) from 31 May 2012 with a deadline of 31 July this year. We apologise for the delay in getting this process up and running.

More about COLPs and COFAs

Alternative business structure (ABS) success

Lawbridge Solicitors Ltd's celebration: Left to right are Antony Townsend (SRA Chief Executive), Alison Pope and Michael Pope (of Lawbridge Solicitors).

Lawbridge Solicitors Ltd's celebration: Left to right are Antony Townsend (SRA Chief Executive), Alison Pope and Michael Pope (of Lawbridge Solicitors).

Since our announcement of the first three firms—Co-operative Legal Services, John Welch and Stammers and Lawbridge Solicitors—to be authorised as ABSs on 28 March, we have been kept very busy with a steady flow of applications.

The latest to be granted licences are NewLaw Legal in Cardiff—the first LDP to convert and the first ABS in Wales. At the other end of the scale, the ABS phenomenon has featured its first international LDP—Russell Jones and Walker, now part of Australian firm Slater & Gordon.

Thinking of becoming an ABS? Find out more about the process at

See our register of licensed ABSs.

mySRA – listening to your concerns and identifying enhancement priorities

We have identified priorities for improving our online application service, mySRA, after publishing a survey and conducting workshops around the country to get your feedback.

We are now asking you to confirm that we have identified the right key issues before we work on an enhancement programme in time for the next round of online PC renewals in the autumn by completing a short online survey.

Antony Townsend, Chief Executive, said: "We know there were difficulties with this year's exercise, for which we apologise sincerely. No-one wants a repeat of this in the next renewals cycle, so we've gathered feedback to make sure that doesn't happen.

"We'd like to thank everyone who completed the online survey, or who attended the workshops, as the information gathered has been very useful. We're now asking for some further feedback to ensure that we've prioritised the main issues properly: we want to concentrate on the things which matter most to those we regulate.

"We'd appreciate it if you could take a little time to complete this further online survey. We will be providing regular updates on our progress in the months ahead."

Please forward the survey to your organisational contacts as we would value their comments. They might like to subscribe to SRA Update

Case study: Courts confirm that dishonesty should lead to striking off

Two recent separate judgements in the Court of Appeal and the High Court relating to Anthony Dennison and Motihur Rahman respectively show that dishonesty by a solicitor almost invariably leads to striking off.


Question of ethics: Nominating your COLP and COFA

Question: Is there any advice you can offer us on the sort of people we should be nominating as COLP and COFA? Must it be the senior or managing partner?

Find out the answer

Nominating your COLP and COFA: What you need to do

One of the critical requirements of our move away from the previous focus on prescribed rules to outcomes-focused regulation is for the regulated community to nominate

  • compliance officers for legal practice (COLPs), and
  • compliance officers for finance and administration (COFAs).

COLPs and COFAs are responsible for ensuring that you and your firm have systems and controls in place to enable you to comply with our regulatory requirements. This requirement is consistent with our risk-based approach to regulation.


Guidance for LPC students and providers on meeting enrolment deadlines

Legal Practice Course (LPC) students can now register using the SRA's online enrolment system which opened on 16 April 2012 and will be available up to 1 September 2012 inclusive at

Applicants missing the deadline will have to use a paper-based method.


Testing attitudes to regulation and compliance in legal services

We recently published a report on the profession's attitudes towards compliance with our regulatory requirements following a survey of 200 firms aimed at helping us to focus our activities and resources in the future.


Bogus firms: Are you at risk of being cloned?

A small number of bogus firms have sprung up in recent months. We are keen to ensure that you do not have your identity stolen in any way so we have issued some guidance to both firms and the public to be on guard. The latest of these is a bogus website, which is not a legitimate website of solicitor's practice, Bains Cohen Solicitors LLP.


MPs call for simpler regulation of legal services

A survey we commissioned in January and February this year from a sample of 156 MPs revealed they would back moves to simplify the way legal services are regulated.


SRA steps up its consumer advice

We are stepping up our game by improving the advice we are giving consumers of legal services.


LSB Transparency Project: Getting the true picture

In response to the Legal Services Board (LSB) requirement on Approved Regulators, we submitted our implementation strategy to them earlier this year which outlines our plan to gather comprehensive diversity and social mobility data about the legal services workforce.


Firms fall foul of failure to pay ARP premiums

More than 30 firms were recently referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for non-payment of their assigned risk pool (ARP) premiums as part of our stricter approach to enforcement contained in the Financial Protection Strategy we introduced in 2010.



Stuck for time? Need to catch up on what's going on in regulation? Then sign up for one of our free lunchtime webinars—you don't have to move from your office, and you get CPD points too!

All events begin at 12.30, run for one hour and attract one CPD hour.


In brief

Revocation – Take the LETR survey – LETR equality, diversity and social mobility paper – Will writing and estate administration – QLTR – Handbook, third edition – Future financial protection arrangements – Mis-sold PPI


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