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On 25 November 2019, the SRA Handbook 2011 will be replaced by the more condensed SRA Standards & Regulations. We take a closer look at how the SRA Handbook changes will impact solicitors.
The introduction of the SRA Standards & Regulations will impact all law firms and SRA solicitors, including all individual solicitors, registered European lawyers (RELs) and registered foreign lawyers (RFLs) that are authorised by the SRA, regardless of how and where they practice.
Arguably the most notable difference between the SRA Handbook 2011 and the SRA Standards & Regulations 2019 is the length, with the Standards & Regulations being over 300 pages shorter than the 2011 Handbook. Whereas the 2011 solicitors Handbook includes a single, 106-page-long Code of Conduct, the 2019 Standards & Regulations include two, distinctively shorter, Codes of Conduct—the SRA Code for Solicitors and the SRA Code for Firms, totalling eight and six pages respectively. The 2019 Accounts Rules are also significantly trimmer than their 2011 counterpart, spreading across seven pages, compared to over 160 in the Handbook.
The SRA Standards & Regulations 2019 also differ from the SRA Handbook 2011 in that it refers to its provisions ‘Standards’ rather than ‘Outcomes’. In the Code for Firms, its provisions are described in the introduction as ‘standards and business controls’, while the introduction to the Code for Solicitors describe its provisions as ‘standards of professionalism’. Furthermore, the Standards & Regulations contains a more expansive list of how solicitors can practice. The Handbook sets out that SRA solicitors can work in a law firm, as a sole practitioner or in-house for an employer. Under the Standards & Regulations SRA solicitors can fill all those roles, with in-house for the public and as a freelance solicitor added to the list.
Lexis®PSL contains an abundance of resources that can assist lawyers in preparing for the changes.
PSL Practice Compliance includes a section devoted to the imminent changes— SRA reforms 2019, containing Practice Notes, Precedents and Checklists that can help you prepare for when the Standards & Regulations enter into force. The following resources are particularly relevant:
Material to aid preparation for the handbook changes can also be found in PSL Risk & Compliance, under the topic Professional conduct and regulation— Regulation of in-house lawyers. The following resources are particularly relevant:
With the SRA Standards & Regulations coming into force in a months’ time, it is important to prepare, by gaining an understanding of what the changes mean in practice, both as a solicitor and law firm as soon as possible. With the abundance of resources already available to Lexis®PSL customers, and more to come, there is no need to panic, as you have a toolbox ready to assist you in managing the transition.
If you have not already done so, as a Lexis®PSL you can sign up for our email alerts and/or monthly highlight, so you can be sure you stay on top of all of the changes. If you have any further queries regarding the SRA reforms or in any other way need our help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
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Aslak is a news editor in the current awareness team at LexisNexis. He is a law graduate from the University of Glasgow and has previously worked for a local Norwegian newspaper. He has a wide-ranging interest in news and current awareness, as well as legal matters and developments.
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