Issue 26 - April 2018

Welcome to the latest issue of Compliance News. In this issue, we have news on this year’s Compliance Officer Conference. Put the date in your diaries - from GDPR to the impacts of our Handbook changes, there will be a lot to discuss. We are also consulting on arrangements to protect the finances of clients through professional indemnity insurance or the Compensation Fund. We want to have a proper debate about the level of cover and recompense that should be in place. Are changes needed? Let us know.

The annual conference that is just for compliance officers will take place on Tuesday 11 December. We are moving this year to the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham to make sure there is plenty of room for everyone.

Read more about: Conference 2018 – save the date!

We are consulting on the protections in place for clients in the event of something going wrong in the service they receive. We want arrangements for professional indemnity insurance and the Compensation Fund to be appropriate both for the public and firms. We want your views to make sure that the protections in place strike the right balance.

Read more about: Client financial protection

The spring update for our Risk Outlook was published this week. Included in the update is information on an increase in cybercrime reports. The majority of reports we have received in the past have involved email interceptions in a bid to steal client money. We are now seeing law firms report other types of cybercrime attacks. You can also get the latest information on other risks such as money laundering and the use of non-disclosure agreements.

Read more about: Risk Outlook

Money laundering continues to be a major risk. Our review of 50 firms showed that many are on top of the issues, but some are not. We have published a package of resources to help you understand the risks and guidance to help you understand your obligations. This includes guidance for firms working in certain countries outside the European Economic Area.

Read more about: Money laundering and the new regulations

Solicitors can play a legitimate role in legally minimising tax liabilities for clients. HMRC will, however, challenge schemes to make sure they are legal. New guidance has been issued on the penalties facing those who are involved in schemes that are not deemed legitimate.

Read more about: Penalties for tax evasion enablers

We have carried out a thematic review into those firms working in claims for compensation over mis-sold payment protection insurance. While there are only a small number of you operating in this area, there are often large sums of money involved - with one pay-out totalling £25,000 - and it is crucial that clients are treated fairly, including charges.

Read more about: PPI work

We have issued a warning notice to remind the profession that NDAs cannot be used to prevent reports of potential professional misconduct to the regulator, or crimes to the police. We have also published FAQs and case studies.

Read more about: Warning on NDAs and harassment cases

Our research into conveyancing found that three-quarters of clients are satisfied with the service they receive when buying or selling a house. However, there is still room for improvement in the service provided during one of the most stressful of lifetime events.

Read more about: Conveyancing research

Last year, we published a competence support package for those of you working in youth courts. Following on from this, we have now created an easy to read leaflet that tells young people how solicitors can help them. You can find this leaflet on our website and you can request copies to support you when talking to younger clients.

Read more about: Support for those working with younger clients

We have adopted a new policy on our process for granting waivers in a bid to make it easier for those who want to work in new ways to be innovative. The policy was published last week, alongside the responses we received to our consultation.

Read more about: Waiver policy makes it easier to be innovative

We believe innovation is important if the legal sector is to continue to grow and provide better access to legal services. Those who join us at one of our SRA Innovate events this year can hear the latest thinking about finding new ways of working. There are three events in 2018 taking place across England.

Read more about: Events - Innovate