Firm closure plan—key considerations
Firm closure plan—key considerations

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

  • Firm closure plan—key considerations
  • SRA Handbook
  • Firm closure plan—compulsory?
  • What are the risks?
  • Your plan—contents
  • The value of your plan
  • Review
  • Precedent plan and checklist

Effective risk management is a cornerstone of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Handbook 2011.

The SRA has emphasised that all firms must take a risk-based approach to compliance and managing their business. This includes managing the risk that your practice may close and having systems in place to manage any closure properly.

This Practice Note sets out the regulatory requirements to consider when putting in place a plan or procedure for closing your firm and practical help on compiling the plan itself. For more on succession and exit planning strategy, including guidance on retirement planning, coming to the decision to close, valuing your practice, selling your practice and merging with another, see our dedicated subtopic: Succession planning in the wider context of your business.

SRA Handbook

You must run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles.

The SRA does not define the risk management principles that it expects you to employ when running your business. Instead, it describes outcomes you must achieve. The most relevant outcome requires you, once you are aware that your firm will cease to practise, to effect the orderly and transparent wind-down of activities, including informing the SRA before the firm closes.

All SRA outcomes are mandatory and are supported by indicative behaviours. The indicative behaviours are not compulsory—they specify,

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