Apply for a waiver
In order to apply for a waiver it will be necessary to complete our application form.
Information you will need
A regulated person or firm applying for a waiver must show that the circumstances of the application meet our criteria for granting a waiver.
It is for you to demonstrate that you meet our criteria. The factors that we might consider are in our waiver decision-making guidance.
You may need to provide further information or evidence to support your application. This will vary depending on what waiver you are seeking. For some waivers we set this out in this table.
Help with your application
Please contact us if you have any questions before you submit your waiver application:
Applications for waivers as part of the authorisation of your firm will be managed as part of that process. You should discuss any waiver requirements with your designated case officer or, for pre-application enquiries, by contacting Authorisation.
How to tell us
Complete the waiver application form (PDF 5 pages, 164KB) and send it to us by email, along with any evidence you are submitting. The email addresses are provided above.
Is there a cost for making a waiver application?
No, the waiver application process is free.
What happens next?
Once we have received it, we will acknowledge your application form within one working day.
We may contact you if we have any questions about your waiver application.
How long do we take to respond?
We aim to decide on your waiver application within 90 days. Where the waiver is for the Innovation Space this is normally 56 days.
This is additional information/evidence required to complete the waivers application form.
Please provide evidence on why the circumstances of your application are sufficiently exceptional. Examples of factors that might be taken into account when considering whether exceptional circumstances exist include:
- an unintended or capricious effect arising from the way the provisions operate;
- hardship arising from the way the provisions operate;
- a public benefit to be gained by a departure from the provisions; or
- some other exceptional case justifying the grant of a waiver;
with no appreciable associated downside risks.
Circumstances which would act against the granting of a waiver would include that:
- the waiver would undermine the public interest which the provisions are designed to safeguard;
- the waiver would undermine the integrity of a provision; and
- the waiver would be contrary to the policy of the SRA
In addition to the information requested on the Application for a waiver form, please also provide:
- bank statements for the full accounting period for which the waiver is being sought
- 12 months of monthly reconciliation accounts
- COFA's breaches report - if there are no breaches, please confirm in writing
- balance sheet
- any other relevant evidence.
Read more information you will need to submit your accountants report waiver form.
You may apply for a waiver of Rule 12 SRA Practice Framework Rules 2011, to enable a lawyer who has not been entitled to practise as a lawyer for 36 months within the last ten years to become either:
- the sole principal of a practice (applicable to registered European lawyers and solicitors only), or
- the supervising principal of a partnership or corporate practice.
In addition to the information set out in the Application for a waiver form, please also provide:
- Date you were admitted as a solicitor or registered as a registered European lawyer or a registered foreign lawyer.
- Whether you been on the roll or register continuously since that date (if applicable).
- If you are a solicitor, the date of issue of your first practising certificate.
- The number of months you have held a practising certificate in the last ten years (if applicable).
- Date of call to the English Bar (if applicable).
- Date(s) of admission to overseas Bars/Law Societies (if applicable). Please also indicate your professional qualification and the country or jurisdiction of qualification.
- Date of admission as a FCILEx (if applicable).
- Date you became a member of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (if applicable).
- Date and details of any other qualifications you consider relevant.
- Whether you have previously applied for a waiver of rule 5 Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007 or of rule 13 Solicitors' Practice Rules 1990 in respect of supervision.
- If yes, please provide the reference number or approximate date of your application.
- Please attach a comprehensive employment history. Please include details of:
- your employment in this country
- your employment overseas
- your employment in both legal and non-legal positions
- whether each employment was full-time or part-time (and the hours, if part-time)
- any periods when you were not working.
Note: Please ensure that the chronology is accurate.
- Please give details of any experience you have gained of:
- supervising and managing staff
- running a business alone or with others
- managing an office
- handling clients’ money or operating a client account
- running an accounts system.
Note: This may be provided as part of the employment history.
- Please provide a brief business plan and a cashflow forecast for your proposed practice. Please include details of:
- anticipated gross fees
- professional and other overheads
- supervision/management arrangements
- areas of work to be undertaken
- staffing arrangements
- how you plan to obtain clients for the practice.
Note: The Solicitors Regulation Authority cannot accept responsibility for the viability of your business plan, whether or not a waiver is granted.
- Whether the proposed practice will be a sole practice, a partnership or a corporate practice.
- Please give details of any partners or owners of the proposed practice other than you, and their intended roles.
- The address or geographical location of your proposed practice.
- How you would obtain clients for your practice.
- What staff you would employ initially.
- Who would be responsible for the day-to-day book-keeping and accounting.
- The arrangements for signing client account cheques.
- How you would run your practice during absences through eg holidays or illness.
- Support that would be available to you from your local legal community in the case of difficulties. Please provide details of any individuals or firms that have agreed to provide such support.
- Legal services that you would provide through your proposed practice.
- Name and address of your current or most recent employer and your position there.
- Whether your employer knows of this application.
- Whether we can consult your employer on this application if necessary.
- Whether you have completed the training required by Rule 12 (this is presently 12 hours of management skills training and requires attending at, or participating in, relevant courses), and if so please provide details of the courses you have completed.
- Confirmation of whether you maintain your competence by regularly reflecting on the quality of your practice and address any identified learning and development needs.
Complaints and regulatory matters
- Whether you know of any complaints made about you to the Law Society, the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Legal Ombudsman, and if so please give details, including any reference numbers.
- Whether you know of any other regulatory matters that the Law Society, the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Legal Ombudsman have dealt with, or are currently dealing with, and if so please give details, including any reference numbers.
- Whether you know of any complaints made about you to any other UK or overseas regulatory body, and if so please give details.
- Whether you ever been made bankrupt, and if so please say when and provide details of discharge.
- Whether you have ever been insolvent and entered an Individual Voluntary Arrangement or a Partnership Voluntary Arrangement with your creditors, and if so please give details.
- Whether you have been convicted of any criminal offence or there are any criminal charges pending against you, and if so please give details and say if this was disclosed when applying to be admitted as a solicitor or registered as a registered European lawyer or registered foreign lawyer.
Note: We will make independent enquiries as appropriate.
Note: Declaration subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
- Please provide two references in support of your application.
Note: Your referees should:
- if possible, be solicitors familiar with your recent work
- confirm the length of time that they have known you
- confirm the capacity in which they have known you
- address your experience and ability to set up and run your own practice.
- Is the applicant seeking a waiver for itself or on behalf of one or more other firms?
- If the application is being made on behalf of one or more other firms, please give reasons for this and provide details of these firms.
- Provide details of firms the application is being made on behalf of.
- Has the applicant, or any of the firms listed above, submitted any application to the SRA for approval as an authorised role holder within the last six months?
- Please answer the following questions if the application relates to a corporate partner or member of another recognised body (“the main recognised body”). Where applicable, please provide information in respect of each corporate partner or member.
- Does the corporate partner or member provide legal services in its own name or through the main recognised body?
- If in its own name or both, please provide details.
- What are the ways in which the corporate partner or member provides services to or through the main recognised body?
- Does the corporate partner or member provide services to any person other than to or through the main recognised body?
- On what basis is the corporate partner or member remunerated?
- Does the corporate partner or member hold client money in its own right rather than through the main recognised body?
- Please answer the following questions where a waiver is being sought from the requirement for the COLP or COFA to be a manager or employee:
- What is the status of the individual?
- What contractual arrangements are in place between that individual and the firm seeking the waiver?
You will need to provide the following governance information for the firm:
- A management structure chart with role titles and names with details of any boards / committees etc.
- Details of the responsibilities of boards, committees and specific managers.
- Terms of reference or other documentation which details how decisions about the firm are made.
In addition to the information set out on the Application for a waiver form, please also provide:
- Evidence of the insurance held which must include details of the insurer, the date the certificate / held cover letter is valid until, and the level of cover.
- A copy of the insurance policy documents, including terms and conditions.
- A comparison document detailing the differences between the terms and conditions of the policy held, against those required under Appendix 1 to the SIIR.