Board approves Competence Statement

The Board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has approved its Competence Statement for solicitors, which defines the standards expected of solicitors at the point of qualification and the steps they need to take to maintain these standards.

The SRA held a 12-week consultation between October 2014 and January this year, and 72 respondents submitted their views. Board members agreed to adopting the Competence Statement after consideration of the SRA’s analysis, and amendments of the statement in response to the points raised.

Martin Coleman, Chair of the SRA’s Education and Training Committee, said: “The Competence Statement gives important guidance to solicitors on the standards they are expected to meet. This is for work we are now undertaking on the competencies we expect of would-be solicitors, and also to ensure continuing competence following the abolition of the mandatory continuing professional development hours requirement.

“We received a large number of responses and made some amendments in light of these submissions. I am grateful to all those who took the time to contribute to this important piece of work.”

The Competence Statement includes three sections: the Competence Statement itself, the Statement of Knowledge and the Threshold Standard. It will be published on the SRA website in early April 2015, at the same time solicitors are able to move to the new approach to continuing competence.

A consultation on the assessment framework for the Competence Statement will take place later this year, although the SRA is already engaging with stakeholders on this matter.

As noted in the consultation document, a proposal will now be submitted to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to amend the notes under Principle 5 of the SRA Principles. This will make it clear that, for a solicitor, meeting the competences set out in the Competence Statement is one requirement of adhering to Principle 5, which states “you must provide a proper standard of service to your clients”.

Today's Conveyancer