Coronavirus (COVID-19)—guidance for law firms
Coronavirus (COVID-19)—guidance for law firms

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

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)—guidance for law firms
  • SRA’s regulatory approach
  • Employment issues
  • General employment issues
  • Keyworker status of staff
  • Working from home and operating your office as a workplace
  • Information security
  • SRA Accounts Rules
  • Missing the SRA’s deadline for submission of the accountant’s report (risking any qualified report being submitted to the SRA late)
  • Completing the accountant’s report in the current difficult circumstances
  • More...

This Practice Note reflects advice, guidance and updates issued by the SRA and Law Society on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the day-to-day operation of law firms. It is supplemented in various places with more detailed guidance from LexisPSL.

See also: Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit. This covers a variety of subjects such as employment issues, business continuity, contracts including execution, dispute resolution and tax implications.

SRA’s regulatory approach

The SRA expects solicitors and firms to continue to meet the high standards the public expects. This means you must do everything you reasonably can to comply with the SRA’s Standards and Regulations and follow the SRA Principles—including serving the best interests of your client and upholding the rule of law.

The SRA expects firms to have appropriate contingency plans for disruption, but recognises that these are exceptional circumstances and the coming months could present particularly challenging issues. According to the SRA ‘we must all remain pragmatic’.

The SRA will take a proportionate approach, including to enforcement. If the SRA receives complaints, it will take account of mitigating circumstances as set out in its enforcement strategy—see Practice Note: SRA enforcement strategy. This includes focusing on serious misconduct and clearly distinguishing between people who are trying to do the right thing and those who are not.

The SRA recommends that if you do face compliance difficulties linked to the virus, you should

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