News that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is set to push ahead with changes to the rules governing solicitors has been greeted with dismay by the Law Society.

Solicitors will be allowed to practise from unauthorised businesses following a major shake-up of regulation announced by the SRA.

They will also deal with a much-reduced handbook which slashes the complexity of existing rules in favour of an overview of obligations and standards. 

For the first time, the revised handbook will have one code of conduct for solicitors and another for firms. The regulator says this will provide clarity to firms about the systems and controls they need to provide good legal services to the public.

The Law Society reacted with dismay, saying the proposals could leave clients unprotected if something goes wrong. 

‘The SRA’s role is to regulate solicitors to ensure consumers are protected – yet here it is opening the door for some solicitors to work in unregulated entities, sweeping away long standing rules referencing conflicts of interest, proper professional indemnity insurance and access to the compensation fund (underwritten by the profession) so if something does go wrong consumers could struggle to recover any losses,’ said Law Society president Robert Bourns.