File audits or file reviews—the basics
File audits or file reviews—the basics

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

  • File audits or file reviews—the basics
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Why have a file audit/review procedure?
  • Who should be reviewed and who can conduct file audits/reviews?
  • Selecting files
  • Corrective actions

There is no specific regulatory requirement to have a file audit/review process. If you want to achieve Lexcel accreditation then there is a requirement for you to have a file audit/review system in place, and professional indemnity (PI) insurers often ask on their proposal forms whether firms have a file audit/review system in place as this is a sign of good risk management. This Practice Note sets out the reasons why you should have a file audit/review system and explains how to implement and maintain a successful system in your firm.

Regulatory requirements

SRA regime

Although there is no specific regulatory requirement to have a file audit/review process, the SRA does require you to have an effective system for supervising clients' matters—see Practice Note: Supervision 2019—law firms and Precedent: Supervision policy—law firms—2019.

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

You must 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.

Lexcel

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