Standards and Regulations resources

Our new Standards and Regulations came into effect on 25 November 2019. Learn more about what their introduction means.

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Whether you work in a big or small firm, in-house or want to work outside a regulated law firm, all solicitors must follow certain rules and meet high ethical standards.

Our shorter, simpler Standards and Regulations focus on high professional standards and protecting the public. They also put more trust in your professional judgment and give you more choices over how and where you work.

If you are a solicitor, you should:

The below resources cover key areas of change compared to the existing/previous SRA Handbook. Wider guidance on other issues is also available.

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What the new Standards and Regulations mean for solicitors

Carol Westrop

Our new Standards and Regulations

Chris Handford

Compliance Officers Conference 2018

Julie Brannan and Richard Collins

Our enforcement strategy underpins our new Standards and Regulations.

Updated in January 2019 it sets out the type of situations where we would step in to protect the public - what we see as serious, when we would take action and what we would do.

We have also provided support materials for the main factors we would consider when looking at potential breaches in certain areas, such as criminal offences outside of practice and use of social media and offensive communications.

Reporting behaviour that potentially puts a client, the public or wider public interest at risk goes to the core of the professional principles of trust and integrity.

It is important that solicitors let us know about serious concerns promptly. Our expectations are set out in our:

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If you are an SRA-regulated law firm you must follow our rules.

Our shorter Standards and Regulations focus on high professional standards and protecting the public. With simpler, less prescriptive rules, we have cut unnecessary bureaucracy making it easier for you to run your business.

If you are a law firm, you should:

The below resources cover key areas of change compared to the previous SRA Handbook. Wider guidance on other issues is also available.

Open all

What the new Standards and Regulations mean for firms

Carol Westrop

Our new Standards and Regulations

Chris Handford

Driving high standards - What our reforms mean for you

Julie Brannan and Richard Collins

Our reforms - opportunities for you and your firm to work differently

Chris Handford

We have produced a range of materials to help you understand the changes to our Account Rules. (See tab above)

From 25 November, all firms with a website must display the SRA clickable logo (known as the ‘digital badge’ in our rules). Resources to help you do this include:

A video to help explain to the public and clients what the clickable logo means.

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Our shorter Standards and Regulations focus on what really matters – high professional standards and appropriate public protection.

If you are an in-house solicitor our new rules could offer you greater flexibility in how you work. For instance, it will be easier for you to do pro-bono work. And in-house solicitors will be able to offer non-reserved legal services to external third parties.  

If you are an in-house solicitor, you will need to:

Below is a range of support and guidance to help you adapt to our changes.

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We have produced specific guidance for solicitors working in the not for profit sector.

For instance, it explains your duties in relation to:

  • handling client money - a solicitor working in the not for profit sector will only be able to hold client money on prescribed terms.
  • professional indemnity insurance requirements for solicitors doing reserved legal activities
  • complaints handling requirements

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Our new Accounts Rules focus on what really matters – keeping client money safe. Our changes mean they are:

  • shorter, with a simpler definition of client money
  • less prescriptive, with the removal of arbitrary timescales
  • more flexible, trusting you to act in your clients’ best interests.

Before the new Rules come into effect, you need to make sure you:

The below resources highlight a range of support and guidance to help you adapt to the change.

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A quick guide to our new Standards and Regulations: Account Rules

Jatinderpal Loyal

SRA Accounts Rules: Updates

Jatinderpal Loyal

The SRA’s Account Rules Q&A

Sean Hankin and Jatinderpal Loyal

Law firms and third-party-managed accounts

Jatinderpal Loyal

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Our shorter Standards and Regulations focus on what really matters – high professional standards and appropriate public protection, while making it easier for the public to access the legal help they need.

If you are a solicitor, you will have the option to work in new ways. This includes being an:

If you decide you want to work in one of these ways, you should make sure you understand:

  • the different types of services you can offer, and the requirements for you to work in this way. For instance, what insurance or experience you might need, and the rules around holding client money.
  • what you need to tell your clients. For instance, being clear about the way you are working and the protections this brings.
  • if relevant, what your employer needs to know. For instance, your employer is vicariously liable for your actions, and will want to consider how best your work as a solicitor is covered.

Wherever you work, solicitors need to follow our rules and work to high professional standards as set out in our Principles and Code of conduct for solicitors.

The below resources offer support if you want to work in new ways.

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Our reforms - opportunities for you and your firm to work differently

Chris Handford

Sections of our new Standards and Regulations that may be of particular interest for a solicitor who wants to work outside a regulated firm include the:

Freelance solicitors who want to provide reserved legal services can only hold client money in limited circumstances. You should read the Accounts Rules to find out more.

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