Regulator’s fining powers set to increase 1000% to £25k

Rule-breaking legal professionals beware

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will transfer ahead with plans to considerably increase the extent of fines it could possibly dish out to regulation corporations and solicitors who breach skilled guidelines, it confirmed yesterday.

The transfer will see the utmost fantastic the regulator can problem internally to regulation corporations, and people working in them, increase by over 1000%, from £2,000 to £25,000.

In figuring out the extent of monetary penalty, the SRA will now bear in mind the turnover of corporations and the monetary means of people, that means — in concept — it may impose smaller fines on low-earning junior solicitors in contrast to rich Metropolis companions for comparable offences.

In circumstances involving sexual misconduct, discrimination or any type of harassment, steerage can be modified to replicate {that a} monetary penalty will solely be thought of in distinctive circumstances, with restrictions on observe, suspension or strike off the extra acceptable sanction.

The SRA can even introduce a schedule of “fixed penalties” for lower-level breaches, which is able to enable circumstances to be handled extra swiftly for these concerned. The modifications nonetheless require approval from the Authorized Companies Board.

Over 7,500 folks engaged with the general public session the regulator launched final 12 months into the proposed modifications, “with most broadly in favour”.

Anna Bradley, SRA chair, stated:

“The overwhelming majority of solicitors meet the standards we all expect, but when they don’t, we step in to protect the public and maintain confidence in the profession. These changes will mean we can resolve issues more quickly, saving time and cost for everyone and, importantly, reducing the inevitable stress for those in our enforcement processes.”

She added: “It was good to see broad support for our proposals, as well as getting feedback that has helped us refine our approach. It is vital that everyone can be confident that our approach is fair and transparent.”

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