The Law Society welcomes the focus from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) on improving its relationship with sole practitioners and small firms.
It is helpful that the SRA acknowledges that a perception exists among small firms that the regulator is indifferent to them and that it needs to improve its communication and support for small firms, to make it easier for them to comply with SRA regulation.
The Law Society would wish to see the SRA scope out more fully the effect of its proposals, providing detail on who will be affected, to what extent and how.
An impact assessment would be able to assess the value of the various proposed strands of this initiative and in due course, the SRA would be better able to both assess the success of the project and the best way to build upon it. In addition, it is suggested that the SRA consults BAME groups on its proposals.
We would emphasise the need for the SRA to:
- be available to meet with small firms or sole practitioners if they are experiencing difficulties in complying with regulation;
- take a proactive, positive and practical approach to regulating small firms; and
- recognise that there is much they can do to assist the considerable challenges that small firms often face operating in a highly competitive market.
The Law Society wishes to support the SRA in this and a continuing dialogue with the Regulatory Affairs Board and the Law Society’s Small Firms Division will help facilitate this.