SRA Update Issue 79 April 2020
In these exceptional circumstances, we are continuing to work with the profession and others to support you to provide quality legal services for those who need them.
Since the last edition of SRA Update was circulated two weeks ago, we have published a number of further Q&As on our website addressing common questions you have been raising in relation to the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. The main issues covered in our most recent updates are highlighted below.
Please keep your queries coming in - we will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep this information up to date as the situation develops.
There continue to be lots of queries on the issue of wills, for example in witnessing signatures or fast-tracking urgent cases. There has been a reported increase in requests for wills in light of the pandemic, but social distancing can cause problems. We have some answers to your questions on our website.
Some have asked about the rules regarding professional indemnity cover, especially where the timing of your renewal means that Covid-19 is causing delays for your broker or insurer in what was already a hardening market. Our latest information explains how you still need to do all you can to secure a new policy, but you might need to go into an extended indemnity period while you arrange this.
Our latest update on Accounts Rules questions covers difficulties with accountant’s deadlines and submitting qualified reports on time.
Many of you, and your staff, will be working from home during the lockdown for the first time. Homeworking brings its own unique set of challenges because of the change of location and routine, so it can be easy to forget the basics, such as cyber security. We have produced a helpful guide to keeping your firm and your clients safe.
We are looking at what support and assurance we can give to all those developing their skills and knowledge, while at the same time making sure that those wanting to enter the profession have reached the standards we and the public expect. This includes queries from those of you on training contracts, for example how you are affected if you have been furloughed.
As well as the new information and advice we have added, don’t forget that our original update included information on the Accounts Rules, client confidentiality and access to courts. That information is still available for those that missed it first time around.
As we said last time, while our ability to respond to emails remains unaffected, we cannot take telephone calls through our Contact Centre or Ethics Guidance helpline. We are exploring options to restore telephone options before the lockdown ends, but we will only do this if we can guarantee we can provide the high standard of service you need.
Every issue of SRA Update includes information on our Your Health, Your Career pages, which offer advice on how to make sure you stay well while addressing the many varied challenges of work. We have added additional guidance to the pages in light of the coronavirus lockdown.
Our regular bulletin on developments of our new Solicitors Qualifying Examination, SQE Update, has been published. As well updates on the latest webinars and guidance on your queries about qualifying work experience, the newsletter of course has information on how coronavirus might impact on our plans.
We are currently consulting on three key issues; Compensation Fund rules, regulation of immigration services, and the principles of qualifying lawyers. These close in the next few weeks, and we would welcome your views on our proposals.
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