Ethics guidance

Not for profit sector - summary

Issued on 23 July 2019 | Effective from 25 November 2019

Effective from 25 November 2019

This guidance relates to rules coming into force on the 25 November 2019. The current guidance should continue to be used until that date.

Go to the Standards and Regulations Beta

How solicitors can work

Under the new regulations solicitors will be able to work, and offer services to the public, in a number of different ways.


This guidance is to help you understand your obligations and how to comply with them. We may have regard to it when exercising our regulatory functions.

Who is this guidance for?

The guidance is aimed at solicitors delivering legal services from within a not for profit organisation, including those who wish to deliver legal services pro bono.

Purpose of this guidance

To help you understand the key area of the SRA's Standards and Regulations most relevant to working in this sector.


We have worked with external consultants to develop guidance (PDF 35 pages, 533 KB) for the not for profit sector. This is to support them as we introduce our new Standards and Regulations.

All solicitors, including those providing services in the not for profit sector or pro bono, must comply with the SRA Principles and the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs (the Code for Individuals).

Key areas of our Standards and Regulations covered by the not for profit sector guide include:

  • The removal of restrictions on how and where solicitors can practise. Beyond the conditions set out in Regulation 9 of the SRA Authorisation of Individuals Rules in relation to certain areas of work, there are no longer restrictions on the way that solicitors may practise.
  • The new Code for Individuals and how this will apply in practice to those employed in the not for profit sector.
  • Duties in relation to client money - the Code for Individuals contains requirements about handling money which apply to all solicitors regardless of where they work. Certain parts of our Accounts Rules will also apply to a solicitor in the not for profit sector, if client money is held in the solicitor's name.
  • Pro bono - there are no longer special rules that apply to pro bono work.
  • Professional indemnity insurance requirements for solicitors carrying on reserved legal activities in a not for profit body. If carrying on reserved legal activities, solicitors must make sure that the body takes out and maintains indemnity insurance that provides "adequate and appropriate" cover for all the services the solicitor(s) provide(s).
  • Clarification that our new three-year practice requirement does not apply to solicitors working in not for profit bodies.
  • Complaints handling requirements and procedures.

Further guidance

We have worked with external consultants to develop a guidance for the not for profit sector (PDF 35 pages, 533 KB).

Further help

If you require further assistance, please contact the Professional Ethics helpline.