Bonfire of the Regulations

Bonfire of the Regulations

By Simon Bullock, SRA Policy Executive, 29 January 2014

You may have seen that late last year, we launched a consultation on changes to our training regulations. This is one of the first tangible 'products' of our Training for Tomorrow programme, and it also continues the work we started a year ago on the Red Tape Initiative.

We've taken a careful look at our training regulations to size-up exactly what we need to specify in the qualification process, and what we no longer need. It's important to stress that we are keeping the basic requirements for qualification intact.

There are seven proposals in total. They are:

  1. Replacing the patchwork of exemptions from parts of our training scheme (for legal executives, Justices Clerks Assistants etc) with a more flexible recognition pathway
  2. Relying on LPC providers' existing admissions procedures for assuring students' completion of a law degree or conversion course – we won't require students to apply to us for a certificate they then just show to the provider in addition to proof of their degree
  3. Removing our requirements on higher education institutions that are duplicated by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)
  4. Removing the requirement for workplace training to take place under the terms of a standard contract we specify – while keeping the key protections for trainees
  5. Removing artificial restrictions on the number of trainees a firm may train, and how many practising certificates a training principal must have had – this will allow us to concentrate more on what makes 'good quality' training when we approve organisations
  6. Removing the express requirement for development of skills in "contentious" and "non-contentious work", and amend the wording of the three areas of law requirement to "at least three distinct areas of English law and practice".
  7. Checking trainee's suitability to be a solicitor before they enter workplace training and then admission - student enrolment won't be required before starting a Legal Practice Course.

These are areas where we have been involved historically in setting requirements where, the world has moved on, and we now replicate protections offered elsewhere. Or the requirements may stifle innovation or training provision. But equally we're trying to 'clear the decks' of the training regulations' sometimes restrictive drafting and focus more on how our training framework aligns with our outcomes focussed, risk based approach to regulation – and this will help us move towards the bigger changes that T4T will bring.

Between now and the end of February we want to meet as many people as possible, and talk to them about the impact of our proposals. We are running a series of road shows and holding a webinar on Thursday 30 January. There are spaces left for all events.

So, if you have a view, you can talk to us, answer the consultation formally, tweet us using #srat4t, or leave a comment below.