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The SRA Handbook: A Rough Guide For Law Firms

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In life, we are used to having to comply with certain rules and regulations for the things that we do each day. But one group of people whose work is often heavily scrutinised are law firms. Because they are in the public eye, there is a huge emphasis placed against law firms to do their work correctly and within the law.


Back in June 2011, the SRA or “Solicitors Regulation Authority” published a set of standards and guidelines that they expect all law firms to follow; the name of this document is called the SRA Handbook.


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If you are about to start your own law firm soon, or perhaps you have just recently established your practice, this rough guide to the SRA Handbook will give you a brief overview into what is included in it.

What is the purpose of the SRA Handbook?


The SRA Handbook is essentially a means of bringing together all of the regulatory requirements that apply to all individuals and groups of people that the SRA regulate. For instance, the information contained within it applies to solicitors, law firms, in-house solicitors.


In time, the SRA’s regulatory requirements will also apply to people new to legal services such as non-solicitor managers.


Who does the SRA Handbook apply to?


In a nutshell, the SRA Handbook applies to any of the parties listed above that are a part of firms regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.


The reason for that is so the clients of all law firms can confidently receive the same level of protection.


What does the SRA Handbook comprise?


The following information briefly describes what you can expect to find in the core areas of the SRA Handbook:


  • The principles – these are essentially ten mandatory principles which the SRA say “underpins” all of the handbook’s requirements. These principles range from the requirement of upholding the law to acting with integrity, and in the best interests of each client;
  • SRA code of conduct – this section shows how the ten mandatory principles apply to conduct matters in real life, and it also outlines what clients can expect from their chosen law firms;
  • Account rules – the rules associated with the protection of client money, as well as accounting for interest;
  • Authorisation and practising requirements – this section talks about compliance and notification requirements;
  • Client protection – how new outcomes and rules relate to indemnity insurance and the Client Compensation Fund;
  • Disciplinary and costs recovery – what the SRA’s approach is to disciplining and recovering money from firms and individuals;
  • Specialist services – what the provisions are on financial services, including property selling and all European cross-border activities;
  • Glossary – as with any industry, the legal industry is full of jargon. This section details all of the jargon and definitions used through the SRA Handbook.

I hope you have found this rough guide to the SRA Handbook useful. Do post up in the comments box below if you have any points you would like to raise or just want to say hello. Thank you for reading!

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