Issue 75 - December 2019
Welcome to the latest issue of SRA Update, the first since we introduced our new Standards and Regulations. A third of the length of the previous handbook and bringing in new freedoms for solicitors and firms, feedback has been positive and we have our first freelancers on the Solicitors Register. This edition of SRA Update tells you about what has changed.
We are also looking ahead and reminding everyone that we will also soon be asking those of you that fall within the scope of 2017 Money Laundering Regulations to make a declaration about your firm’s risk assessment. And, in a prompt on the risks associated with getting involved in dubious investment schemes, you can read about the Financial Conduct Authority ban on so-called mini bonds, which were emerging as a new alleged investment product.
You can find about all of these and more in this issue. Finally, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Whether you work in a law firm, in-house, on your own or for a non-regulated organisation, last month’s introduction of our new Standards and Regulations directly affects you. Find out more about the key reforms that are not live, rule changes that you need to know about and potential opportunities that now exist.
This week we will be writing to those firms captured by the 2017 Money Laundering Regulations requiring your Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) to sign a declaration confirming that your practice has a firm-wide money laundering risk assessment in place.
We are aware that for some it is getting harder to obtain professional indemnity insurance and many firms have not been able to secure a renewal on 1 October 2019. You need to tell us if you have not yet secured cover so we can help you protect the interests of your clients. If you have not already notified us, you should do so immediately.
We have published final detailed information about the legal knowledge that will be tested in the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). By publishing the specification, training providers, the profession and other interested parties can see exactly what our expectations are and prepare accordingly.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced a ban on the sale of certain types of mini bonds, amid concerns that such schemes can often be used as the vehicle for running dubious investments.
Owners of closed firms should be aware that the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) is closing on 30 September 2020 and will not provide post six-year run-off professional indemnity cover after this point. That means that former firm owners should consider whether they need to make arrangements to cover for claims made after that date. This also affects those of you looking to close in the near future.
Our Ethics Guidance helpline has been operating on different opening hours this year as our advisers helped a number of important projects. Opening hours have changed again, while those of you operating in between December 20 and January 2 will also want to know when support is available over Christmas.
We are consulting on our next Corporate Strategy, which maps out our aims and objectives for the next three years. This is your chance to give your views on the priorities we have identified.
We have published a competence support package for those of you working in youth courts. Following on from this, we have now created an easy to read leaflet that tells young people how solicitors can help them. You can find this leaflet on our website and request copies to support you when talking to younger clients.
Cybercrime is the fastest-growing crime in the country, accounting for more than 75 percent of all 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 to minimise the risk of your firm being caught out?
Want to know the high-risk scams that could affect your business? Our new round-up brings together the latest risks and advice on how to help keep your firm safe.
Are you worried about your health affecting your work? Life as a solicitor can be challenging and the demands and pressures can easily build up. We can signpost you to sources of help and make adjustments for you if you are in difficulty.
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