The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is expected to begin a review of the SRA Handbook this spring, including the Accounts Rules. We would like to hear your views to help form our policy position.

The Law Society is keen to make sure that if the existing rules are replaced or simplified, they are simple to operate and provide adequate protection for solicitors and clients.

We would like to hear from as many solicitors as possible and encourage members to respond to this consultation. The feedback we receive will be instrumental in the formulation of a policy position that will be used to lobby the SRA on this important topic.

The Regulatory Affairs Board at the Law Society has developed several options:

Option A. Retain the current Accounts Rules.

Option B. Replace the existing rules with an approach based on the Overseas Accounts Rules.

Option C. Simplify and shorten the existing Accounts Rules.

Option D. Simplify and shorten the Accounts Rules (as in option C) and remove the requirement for a separate client account.

Option E. Adopt a de minimis approach: Disapplying certain rules to firms which only use client accounts sparingly (eg if the amount in the client account at any one time does not exceed a certain threshold and/or a total level during the financial year).

Option F. Additional option – the removal of rule 1.2, which places duties on COFAs.

Questions:

Question 1. Which out of options A - F would you favour and why?

Question 2. Which out of options A - F would you least favour and why?

Question 3. Do you have any other comments or proposals on changes to the Accounts Rules?

If you have any other observations on the Accounts Rules that you would like to share, these would also be welcome.

Please email your views or any queries to regulatoryaffairs@lawsociety.org.uk by 29 April 2016.