New process saves time for all

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has made it easier and quicker for firms to apply for a change in status by cutting form filling by a third.

New slimline application forms have been introduced for firms that need to apply for authorisation for a change of legal entity, or for LDPs electing to be licensed. Applicants now have less detail to complete, and decision-making will be much quicker. Unnecessary or duplicate questions have been taken out, without reducing the public protection provided by the process, and the text is as concise as possible.

The change is the latest in a long line of improvements the SRA has made to its authorisation processes in recent years.

Robert Loughlin, SRA Executive Director for Operations and Quality Assurance, said: “We are committed to making it easier for firms to do business, and that means continually looking at what we do and how we do it. Authorisation is key to our regulatory model and ensures that only those solicitors and law firms who meet the standards expected are allowed into the profession.

“That makes it all the more important that we keep our processes under review and balance public protection with reducing red tape and the burden on firms. This change is the latest example of our flexibility and willingness to improve.”

In 2014, more than a third of firm authorisation applications were either for a change of legal entity (CLE), or for LDPs wishing to elect to be licensed (326 out of 896). The majority of these would have benefited from using the new forms. These forms are available on the SRA’s website at: http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/firm-based-authorisation/existing-firms-applications.page.

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