Done deal for sole practitioner authorisation

The Legal Services Board (LSB) have agreed to amend the method the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) use to authorise sole practitioners

The changes proposed by the SRA in regards to the way they authorise sole practitioners, has at last been acknowledged by the Legal Services Board (LSB). The effects of the changes have now been activated with the release date having been on 1st November, forming part of Handbook amendments. The changes proposed and agreed in July were produced to bring the SRA processes up to speed with other firms in regards to the authorisation of sole practitioners.

The new method of practice is reportedly set to reduce the complexity of the current process whilst also modernising it. Previous standings meant that the procedure of an annual endorsement was in place to enable solicitors to practice as a sole practitioner. The now outdated method somewhat contrasted with what other firms were doing elsewhere at the time; the other firms opting for the one-off authorisation application process which the SRA have now adopted. With the SRA’s pre-existing methods appearing archaic in comparison to other firms at the time, has the newly improved and simplified regime benefited conveyancing professionals who the use the SRA for authorisation?

What do the new changes entail?

The changes made have resulted in the endorsement procedure no longer being required. Beginning in October, sole practitioners who renew their practising certificate are now issued with a version that doesn’t contain an endorsement. Along with using the same application form, a periodical fee will be required when renewing a practising certificate.

When discussing the new changes, Crispin Passmore, SRA Executive Director of Policy, states how the new authorisation process will remove excess complication for firms, as the annual endorsement strategy will cease to exist. Passmore also went onto say how, even though the change will introduce simplification, the new methods should have little or no impact on firms. Should an establishment such as the SRA have adopted these changes sooner? Do you agree with the changes that have been made?

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