The SRA Handbook is no longer in effect. It was replaced by the SRA Standards and Regulations on 25 November 2019.

SRA Handbook

Disciplinary offences and reporting

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Version 7 of the Handbook was published on 01/04/2013. For more information, please click 'History' Above

Part 5: Disciplinary offences and reporting

Rule 16: Disciplinary consequences of failure to comply with these Rules


The provisions in Part 4 of the Rules are made without prejudice to the powers of the Council or the Society under the SA, the AJA, the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, the European Communities (Lawyer's Practice) Regulations 2000 or the LSA, or rules made under any of them, to bring disciplinary proceedings or take disciplinary action against any firm that has failed to comply with these Rules or any person who is or was a principal in such a firm or to intervene in a practice carried on by such a firm.


Payment of the ARP default premium and/or the ARP run-off premium does not detract from the fact that the firm in question, and each principal of that firm, has committed a breach of these Rules as a result of the firm being a firm in default. If a firm in default is not an eligible firm, it must either obtain qualifying insurance in the open market, or cease carrying on practice and make an application to the ARP for run-off cover in accordance with Rule 5.2.


Without prejudice to any other disciplinary offence which may arise under these Rules, it shall be a disciplinary offence for any firm or any person who is at the relevant time a principal in a firm to


be in policy default,


fail to implement any special measures to the satisfaction of the Society; and


undertake any activities in connection with private legal practice in breach of Rule 5.3.


Policy default and special measures are defined in the Glossary. Note that a firm that is carrying on a practice while in policy default will also not be an eligible firm for the purpose of seeking further cover through the ARP.

Rule 17: Use of information


Any qualifying insurer (including the ARP manager) shall, in relation to any firm which applies to it for qualifying insurance, and in the case of the ARP manager any run-off firm or firm in default, whether or not that firm applies to enter the ARP, bring to the attention of the Society (including, in the case of the matters referred to in Rule 17.1(f), the Office for Legal Complaints (including the Legal Ombudsman)) at any time and without notice to the firm concerned:


any failure on the part of the firm or any person who is a principal of that firm to pay any sum, including an ARP premium, ARP default premium or ARP run-off premium, on or before the date specified in these Rules or to reimburse any amount falling within a policy excess which has been paid out by a qualifying insurer to a claimant;


a material inaccuracy in any proposal form submitted by or on behalf of the firm;


the fact that the firm has become or is believed to have become a run-off firm;


any matter or circumstances that would entitle the firm's qualifying insurer to avoid or repudiate a policy but for the provisions of clause 4.1 of the MTC (and/or the corresponding of the policy);


any dishonesty or fraud suspected by a qualifying insurer on the part of any insured; and


any claim of inadequate professional services made against the firm or any insured of that firm of which it becomes aware.


All firms, whether they obtain their qualifying insurance on the open market or through the ARP, or whether, having failed to obtain qualifying insurance, they are subject to the provisions of Part 4 of these Rules, are deemed to have consented to their qualifying insurer or the ARP manager bringing to the attention of the SRA any of the matters referred to Rule 17.1 that may be applicable to the firm. Any such information is subject to the confidentiality provisions of Rule 17.4.


The Council may require any qualifying insurer or the ARP manager to bring to the attention of the Society any of the matters referred to in Rule 17.1 where it reasonably believes there are matters which ought to be brought to the attention of the Society in accordance with Rule 17.1.


Each firm shall notify the Society (or such person as the Society may notify to the firm from time to time) and its qualifying insurer in writing as soon as reasonably practicable and in no event later than five (5) business days after the date on which cover under a policy is extended in respect of:


the extended indemnity period; and


the cessation period,

in circumstances where the firm does not have an alternative policy of qualifying insurance in force at the commencement of each such period.


In respect of any information that may be brought to the attention of the Society in accordance with Rules 17.1, 17.2 and 17.3:


the Society shall keep all such information confidential;


the Society shall not (except where and to the extent required by law or in the proper performance by the Society of its regulatory functions) at any time reveal any such information to any person other than a duly authorised employee of the Society or any of its subsidiaries; and


any privilege attaching to such information shall not be regarded as having been waived whether by virtue of such information having been provided to the Society or otherwise.


The provisions of Rule 17.4 shall not prevent the Society from:


making use of any information referred to in that Rule for the purpose of bringing disciplinary proceedings against any person; or


in relation to information about a firm's policy under Rule 18, disclosing that information, where and to the extent that the Society in its absolute discretion considers it appropriate, to any person entitled to such information, and to any other department or office of the Society, including without limitation to the Office for Legal Complaints (including the Legal Ombudsman).


The Society may, without limitation and in its absolute discretion, disclose and make available for public inspection the identity of a firm's qualifying insurer. Nothing in these Rules shall act to prohibit the Society from making such a disclosure nor give rise to any liability of the Society, for breach of any obligations of confidentiality or otherwise.

Rule 18: Details of qualifying insurer


If a claimant asserts a claim against a firm or any person insured under that firm's policy, and where such claim relates to any matter within the scope of cover of the MTC (whether or not such claim would or may be upheld), the firm and any person who is at the relevant time (or, in the case of a firm which has ceased practice, any person who was immediately before that firm ceased practice) a principal in that firm shall be required, upon being so requested by that claimant, by any person insured under that firm's policy, or by any other person with a legitimate interest, to provide to that person the following details in relation to that firm's policy:


the name of the qualifying insurer(s) who issued the policy; and


the policy number; and


the address and contact details of the qualifying insurer(s) for the purpose of making a claim under the policy;

in each case in respect of the policy which it is reasonably believed to be the relevant policy to respond to the claim, or, if applicable, the fact that the firm or person against whom the claim is asserted is covered by supplementary run-off cover.


A firm, and each principal in that firm, is required to provide details of that firm's policy of qualifying insurance to any person who asserts a claim against anyone insured under that firm's policy. Under Rule 17, the SRA has the power to disclose information regarding a firm's qualifying insurer where it considers it appropriate to do so.