What is the Solicitors Regulation Authority?
Written by Zenyx Griffiths
2nd Jul 2019 (Last updated on 26th Feb 2020) 6 minute read
The Solicitors Regulation Authority or SRA is one of the regulating bodies in the UK who oversees solicitors and law firms in England and Wales. If you’re looking to hire a solicitor or conveyancer, then you will need to make sure that they’re regulated by the SRA to determine they’re fully-qualified and trustworthy.
It’s important to understand what the SRA does and who they regulate so that you can find the most professional conveyancers when house hunting. They’re not the only UK regulatory body, however, there’s also the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), the Law Society of Scotland (LSS) and the Law Society of Northern Ireland (LSNI) to consider.
To help you find the most dependable conveyancing solicitors, Compare My Move has created this guide to help you understand who the Solicitors Regulation Authority are and how they regulate the legal professionals within their network.
What is the Solicitors Regulation Authority?
The SRA is one of many of the regulatory bodies within the legal profession throughout the UK. They regulate both solicitors (including conveyancing solicitors) and law firms throughout England and Wales. They also regulate non-lawyers like the managers or employees within the legal firms. The SRA also has a duty to regulate registered foreign lawyers and registered European lawyers. They ensure those we are regulated are fully qualified and insured, monitoring training performances and assessing individual's characters.
The SRA create and set the Principles and Code of Conduct that the legal professionals must abide by in order for them to provide legal services to the general public. The approach to regulations the SRA take is an outcomes-focused and risk-based one, ensuring that the individuals and law firms operate independently and with integrity.
Enforcement action can be taken against those who breach the Code of Conduct. They have a range of legal powers enabling them to take action depending on the severity of the breach and the risk posed to the public and profession. From warnings about future conduct to closing a firm with immediate effect, there are a variety of outcomes that could result from breaching the SRA’s Principles. If a firm has been closed as a result of this, then the clients who have paid the firm will be able to apply for their money back, as well as for any documents to be returned.
The SRA’s Current Code of Conduct
The current handbook and Code of Conduct for the SRA is based around 10 mandatory Principles. These Principles apply to all solicitors and law firms that are regulated by the SRA and everyone who works within them.
These 10 Principles dictate that those regulated by the SRA must:
- Uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice,
- Act with integrity,
- Not allow your independence to be compromised,
- Act in the best interests of each client,
- Provide a proper standard of service to your clients,
- Behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services,
- Comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner,
- Run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles,
- Run your business or carry out your role in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity, and
- Protect client money and assets.
These Principles were created to protect both the clients and those regulated by the SRA. They encourage a professional and transparent service where solicitors must be completely honest with their clients. It also ensures that they are fully qualified, insured and capable of providing the best possible service.
Changes to the SRA Handbook in 2019
The SRA has confirmed that on 25th November 2019, new regulations will come into effect, altering the current handbook. The new regulations aim to allow solicitors to have more flexibility in how they work, making it easier for people to seek help. The handbook will be shorter and more targeted, focusing on protecting the public and their money. it will also allow solicitors and law firms to have greater freedom to use their professional judgement.
Some of the key changes to the SRA handbook include, but are not limited to:
- Dividing the current Code of Conduct into two separate parts, one for law firms and one for solicitors.
- There'll be simpler Account Rules that will focus on the principles of keeping your client’s money safe compared to the more technical and specific rules that are currently enforced.
- Solicitor’s entitlement will be less reserved, allowing them to provide services as freelancers as well as to provide unreserved legal services from unauthorised businesses subject to certain conditions and restrictions.
- The current 10 Principles will be reduced to 7 with the introduction of honesty and integrity within the business.
How You Benefit From the SRA
Now that the technical information has been explained, you might be wondering, “Well, how does the SRA benefit me?” Firstly, your conveyancing costs may be reduced in the long run as, by using an SRA regulated conveyancer, you’ll be provided with a first-class service by a trustworthy professional. You won’t be losing money by switching between unqualified solicitors or wasting it on irrelevant services. Complete transparency and honesty is required when working with an SRA conveyancer and so you can trust your hard-earned money won’t go to waste.
Another benefit of the SRA is its dedication to client care. Many of the Principles are there to ensure that every solicitor and law firm provides clients with the most reliable service available, acting in their best interest. They want to provide you with the best service available, conducting accurate and relevant conveyancing searches to help you with the moving process.
Finally, another benefit is the protection they provide. A clear and helpful complaints service is available to clients if the worst should occur. If the conveyancing solicitor or legal firm you hire is unprofessional, the SRA can complete a full investigation. In a worst-case scenario, if the firm is then shut down due to their incompetence, you can receive your money back by applying through the SRA.
How Compare My Move Verifies Conveyancers
Compare My Move only works with the most professional and dependable conveyancers across the UK. To ensure this, our network of conveyancing partners go through a stringent verification process and are continually monitored through user feedback and ratings. We have a strict 4 step verification process to guarantee you’re only getting the very best service possible. Our aim is to help you find the right conveyancer for you.
All companies that join our conveyancing network must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Council for Licensed Conveyancers, Law Society of Scotland or Law Society of Northern Ireland. They must also have a working and legitimate website containing up-to-date contact details and service descriptions. Here at Compare My Move, we pride ourselves on our professional partners and therefore, the importance of third-party feedback is second to none.
Our partners must also follow our Code of Conduct which ensures that your experience with the conveyancing solicitor is positive. They must be fully regulated and provide quality customer service as well as offer a quality after-sales service when required. We regularly monitor our conveyancers throughout their partnership and, although this is extremely rare, we’ll remove them as a verified partner if deemed necessary.
Saving Money with Compare My Move
Compare My Move only work with the most professional conveyancers, many of whom are regulated by the SRA, to provide you with exceptional service every time. Save yourself both time and money by completing our quick and easy form to get connected with up to 5 licensed conveyancers in your local area. We’ll find you a dependable and experienced conveyancing solicitor that’s best suited you and your requirements.