Are file reviews important?

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Published on LexisPSL on 16/12/2019

The following Practice Compliance Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are file reviews important?
  • Regulatory requirements
  • SRA requirements
  • Lexcel
  • Selecting files for review
  • Management information

File reviews show that an organisation takes quality and compliance seriously.

File reviews and audits provide meaningful statistics, and if things were to go wrong, the audit information can be fed into a Risk register or other plan and remedial steps implemented.

It is important to have the correct levels of supervision in place; having a Supervision policy—law firms—2019 which sets out supervision arrangements including those relating to file audits/reviews, governance and reporting lines, work allocation, supervision of work, case progression, supervising correspondence and outsourcing arrangements.

Regulatory requirements

SRA requirements

There is no formal regulatory requirement to have a file review procedure, but the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019 require you to:

  1. have an effective system for supervising clients’ matters, and

  2. ensure the individuals you manage are competent to carry out their role, and keep their professional knowledge and skills, as well as their understanding of their legal, ethical and regulatory obligations, up-to-date

Where you supervise or manage others providing legal services:

  1. you remain accountable for the work carried out through them, and

  2. you must effectively supervise work being done for clients


The Lexcel practice management standard imposes certain requirements in relation to file reviews. These should be considered compulsory for firms that have or are working towards Lexcel accreditation;

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