Issue 67 - June 2018
Welcome to the latest issue of SRA Update. From money laundering to Legal Aid work, cybercrime to helping clients claim for mis-sold payment protection insurance, there is a wide range of stories in this issue.
This illustrates the breadth of the legal sector, and with wide-ranging services come wide-ranging risks. That is why we produce the Risk Outlook, to help you identify the issues you might encounter and suggestions for steps you can take to mitigate against them.
There is also still time to respond to our consultation on reforming professional indemnity insurance and the Compensation Fund. Your views will very much shape our thinking on how to get the right balance between the protections in place for clients and the cost to you.
If you come acrossactivity that you suspect could be linked to money laundering, you must informyour firm’s money laundering reporting officer, who will consider whether ornot to report it to the National Crime Agency (NCA). The agency has issued updatedguidance on completing reports.
The number of qualifiedaccountants’ reports being submitted has fallen since we changed the rules toallow accountants to use their professional judgment when assessing firms’books. We are, however, investigating more reports, because the reasons forqualifying the reports focus more specifically on genuine risks to clientmoney.
Some solicitors mightfind that they are unable to appoint a barrister in their case because ofindustrial action being taken against Legal Aid allocation. We have publishedadvice if you find yourself in this situation, and also what to think aboutbefore taking clients on.
Some law firms that havesuccessfully bid for civil Legal Aid contracts might have done so on a jointventure basis and will therefore need to be authorised. Such firms should getin touch with us as soon as possible to make sure they are approved in time.
The Government hasintroduced a cap on the amount of fees that can be charged in claims forcompensation over mis-sold payment protection insurance. While there are only asmall number of you operating in this area, we have carried out a thematicreview into this work highlighting good practice and risks.
Cybercrime is thefastest-growing crime in the country, accounting for more than 75 percent ofall reports to the police. Law firms, handling large amounts of client money,are prime targets for such criminals. Are you doing all that you can tominimise the risk of your firm being caught out?
Want to know thehigh-risk scams that could affect your business? Our new round-up bringstogether the latest risks and advice on how to help keep your firm safe.
Are you worried aboutyour health affecting your work? We recognise that life as a solicitor can bechallenging. The demands and pressures can easily build and make you feel likethings are getting on top of you. We can signpost you to sources of help and makeadjustments for you if you are in difficulty.
The Crown ProsecutionService has refreshed the website of its online learning facility for CPSin-house lawyers and paralegals, CPSProsecution College. This facility is now available to agents who work inCaribbean Overseas Territories, while it also has updated courses.Details about how to access accounts have been sentto users directly. Those that have not received this information when they thinkthey should have should contact CBU@cps.gov.uk.
We are consulting on theprotections in place for clients in the event of something going wrong in theservice they receive. We want arrangements for professional indemnity insuranceand the Compensation Fund to be appropriate both for the public and firms. Wewant your views by June 15 to make sure that the protections in place strikethe right balance.
We believe innovation is important if the legal sector is to continue to grow and provide better access to legal services. Those who join us at one of our SRA Innovate events this year can hear the latest thinking about finding new ways of working. There are three events in 2018 taking place across England.
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