News release

A Question of Trust campaign attracted thousands of responses from solicitors

We have now closed one of the biggest consultations we have ever run, putting the views of the profession and the public at the heart of regulation.

The Question of Trust campaign invited the public and profession to share their views on what should happen when solicitors fall short of the professional standards set out in the SRA Handbook. The campaign used scenarios based on real-life cases to ask how serious the issues are and what action should be taken.

The response has been impressive with thousands of people getting involved. In total the campaign secured:

  • More than 2,350 online survey responses
  • 6.5m impressions on social media, including 10,000 engagements on Twitter and 1,636 answers via our Twitter polls
  • Almost 4,500 visitors to our website's "Hot topics" page, where the Question of Trust toolkit for firms could be found
  • 3,000 attendees to our events around England and Wales

The input from the four-month campaign will help with the development of a reference framework for our staff to use when making regulatory decisions, including whether to refer to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Commenting on the campaign, SRA CEO, Paul Philip, said: "This is a landmark campaign that has really engaged people. Regulation is part of the social contract between the profession and the public and it important that we calibrate and validate what we do. Thank you to the thousands of solicitors and members of the public who have helped us with this.

"We asked people about what should happen when things go wrong. I believe that clear, consistent and transparent decision making is fundamental to good regulation and we are reviewing our end to end procedures accordingly. Our new reference framework will help staff and the profession alike.

"We refer the most serious cases to the SDT. The Tribunal is rightly independent and our campaign was not about how it operates. It was about stimulating a debate on the standards the public can expect of solicitors. Of course, each case must turn on its merits and we have a right of appeal where we think the Tribunal has got it wrong.

"A Question of Trust addressed the big issues at the heart of regulation and shows that there is real public interest in the high standards expected of solicitors. Testing what we do with the profession and the public increases public confidence, not only in regulation but in the profession itself."

We will be reporting on the outcomes of the campaign in summer.