Annual Review 2017/18

Our Annual Review 2017/18 discusses our performance against the objectives set out in our Corporate Strategy and key regulatory activities from the reported year.

Download Annual Review 2017/18 (PDF 55 pages, 11MB)

About us

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is the regulator of solicitors and law firms in England and Wales. We work to protect members of the public and support the rule of law and the administration of justice.

We do this by overseeing all education and training requirements necessary to practise as a solicitor, licensing individuals and firms to practise, setting the standards of the profession and regulating and enforcing compliance against these standards.

We are the largest regulator of legal services in England and Wales, covering around 80% of the regulated market. We oversee some 192,000 solicitors and more than 10,400 law firms.

Setting high professional standards

We make sure that those entering the profession are fit to practise and meet the high professional standards the public expects. We do this by overseeing professional education and training, setting the entry standards, and checking that applicants are of a suitable character before allowing them to become a solicitor.

Similarly, we assess law firms and other types of legal businesses to make sure they are fit to offer legal services before allowing them to do so. And, once those individuals and firms are in practice, we provide guidance and rules, such as requiring continuing professional development, to make sure that those standards are maintained.

Information and guidance

We provide information about solicitors, their work and the standards the public is entitled to expect. We are working towards increasing the availability of relevant and timely information, to help people make good choices when purchasing a legal service.

Safeguarding the users of legal services

We make sure the public is protected by taking action when things go wrong. We set and monitor indemnity insurance requirements and we operate a compensation scheme. The discretionary fund can, in some circumstances, make payments to members of the public and small businesses to replace money taken or improperly used by their solicitor.

Disciplinary action

We monitor and supervise the conduct of solicitors and firms against the standards we have set. If solicitors or firms do not meet these standards, we investigate their practice and compliance with our rules, where necessary taking regulatory action, such a s issuing a fine or reprimanding the solicitor. When we have serious concerns about a solicitor or a firm's conduct, we prosecute at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. When necessary, we take possession of a firm's files and money to protect clients and the wider public and return papers and money to their owners.

Affordable and accessible legal services

Most people and small businesses do not use legal services when they have a legal problem. We know that legal services are seen as expensive and hard to access, so we are working to create an open, modern and competitive legal market, providing more affordable and accessible services. To do this, we have reviewed our regulatory requirements to make sure they are proportionate. We are also reducing unnecessary bureaucracy, so solicitors and firms can do business more easily and offer new services, while maintaining consumer protection.

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  1. Please note, the figures detailed in this chapter are audited each April and there may be minor variances in our final accounts.
  2. The numbers in this table will differ from those published in our ‘Encouraging innovation: transparency about our waiver decisions’ report, published in June 2018. This is because the above figures do not include the waivers we granted to let firms withdraw money from the client account when they would not ordinarily be allowed to do so without our permission.
  3. Due to an error, we previously reported this as 40, which is incorrect.