Plans of a Regulatory Reform have been discussed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Board and further steps have been agreed to put the proposed changes into practice.
All the plans must be approved by the Legal Services Board prior to being implemented. Once approved, the changes are set to encourage establishing business and reduce overall burdens on law firms. This is particularly applies to multi-disciplinary practices (MDPs) who would be more effectively regulated by the SRA. This will allow firms who carry out a wider range of services in addition to conveyancing, to strengthen their service development.
A key factor in the reform is focussed around Compensation Fund claims. The eligibility criteria will be altered to help benefit consumers most in need and still maintaining appropriate levels of protection for each circumstance. This will certainly benefit firms who carry out conveyancing services, as consumers will feel enhanced support and protection when buying and selling property.
Solicitors who aren’t in possession of a practicing certificate will no longer be required to reapply if they wish to remain on the roll. The SRA say they plan on performing this requirement on an ad-hoc basis, as and when required for regulation purposes.
Accountants’ reports are also set to change, with alterations to the reporting form due to come into force in April 2015. You will still be required to submit reports within 6 months of your financial reporting period. However, the new system means only qualified client reports will be filed with the SRA and reports on client accounts will become more targeted.
International solicitor firms will also benefit from the new proposals. The SRA are planning on making it easier for UK firms with practices overseas to abide by regulations. European lawyers setting up businesses within the UK will have requirements reduced and can choose to either become a regulated firm under the SRA or establish as an “Exempt European Practice”.
For more information on the Regulatory Reform plans and how they will affect you, visit the SRA website