Breach reporting 2019—law firms

The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Breach reporting 2019—law firms
  • Comparison with 2011 reporting regime
  • When and what must you report to the SRA
  • Universal obligation—individuals and firms regulated by the SRA
  • Compliance officers
  • What is a serious breach?
  • Serious breach factors
  • Nature of the allegation
  • Intent/motivation
  • Harm and impact
  • More...

Breach reporting 2019—law firms

This Practice Note is based on reporting requirements in the SRA Codes of Conduct 2019 as amended by the SRA Regulatory Arrangements (Reporting Concerns) (Amendment) Rules 2019, the SRA’s Enforcement Strategy and information set out in the SRA’s Reporting concerns: Post-consultation position paper.

For more guidance on the 2019 regulatory regime, see Practice Notes:

  1. SRA Standards and Regulations

  2. SRA Code of Conduct for individuals and firms

  3. SRA Accounts Rules 2019

See also Precedents: Breach reporting policy—law firms and Training materials—breach reporting 2019—law firms.

Comparison with 2011 reporting regime

The 2011 SRA Handbook contained two distinct reporting obligations:

  1. a general reporting obligation on all regulated persons and firms to report ‘serious’ compliance failures and serious misconduct

  2. a specific obligation on the COLP and COFA to report ‘material’ compliance failures

Generally, these obligations have been carried across to the 2019 Codes of Conduct, but the concept of material compliance failures has been abandoned. Instead, the threshold for both reporting obligations is ‘serious breach’. There is no general obligation to report serious misconduct, presumably because misconduct will automatically fall within the concept of a serious breach.

For a detailed comparison, see Practice Note: Compliance officers and breach reporting—SRA 2011 regime and SRA 2019 regime compared.

When and what must you report to the SRA

The SRA has moved to a consistent threshold for reporting, which applies to individuals and firms

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