20 January 2012
To ensure that public protection is not compromised and that those dealing with the SRA are not subjected to incorrect decisions, it is important that any errors are corrected promptly and transparently. The ability of regulators to reconsider decisions is an important aspect of public law. It is also covered in some rules, such as regulation 17 of the SRA Practising Regulations 2011, but there are at least two reasons for this supporting policy statement:
The range of decisions made by the SRA is so broad that some will inevitably not be covered by rules that include an express reconsideration, and so this policy effectively applies the principles in rules to all decisions;
To explain how the SRA will approach reconsiderations more generally.
The SRA may reconsider or rescind any decision it makes with the agreement of the regulated person.
In its absolute discretion, the SRA may reconsider any decision when it appears that the person or panel who made the decision
was not provided with material evidence that was available to the SRA,
was materially misled by the regulated person or any other person,
failed to take proper account of material facts or evidence,
took into account immaterial facts or evidence,
made a material error of law,
made a decision which was otherwise irrational or procedurally unfair,
made a decision which was ultra vires, or
failed to give sufficient reasons.
A reconsideration may be directed by a duly authorised person who may also give directions for
further investigations to be undertaken;
further information or explanation to be obtained from any person;
the reconsideration of the decision to be undertaken by the original decision maker or adjudication panel or by a different decision maker or a differently constituted adjudication panel.
Reconsiderations should be dealt with transparently and so may only be directed on the basis that those affected are informed of the direction and given an opportunity to comment before the decision is reconsidered.
While it may depend on the nature of the decision, the SRA's view is that a direction to reconsider a decision effectively quashes that original decision.
Proper quality control of decisions may mean that the Head of Adjudication or another person is asked to review whether a decision is correct. If that person decides that there should be a reconsideration, it will be carried out transparently as set out in paragraph 5, including disclosure of that person's reasons for the decision to reconsider. Legal advice provided to the SRA will not usually be disclosed.
Please use www.sra.org.uk/reconsideration to link to this page.