The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is holding firm on arguments against the publication policy, after rejecting the Law Society’s calls to limit the information published about solicitors who are subject to regulatory sanctions, according to Legal Futures
The SRA make decisions on firms and individuals they regulate and publish them on their website, this began back in early 2008. The site does not, however, offer a full picture of a regulatory record for either an individual or a firm and the SRA state “for the most complete, up-to-date information we can offer about an individual’s or firm’s regulatory record–especially if you wish to rely on the information for formal purposes–please contact us”.
Decisions are published based on when they were made, the type of decision and also whether it serves the public’s best interests. Published decisions are removed from the SRA website after three years.
Those against publication are said to be most concerned about referrals to the SDT being published, citing that the information is published too soon and will damage a solicitor, or firms, reputation. Comments from the SRA don’t fit with this statement though as the website says “our decisions can be challenged by appeals or judicial review. Normally, we publish a decision only after the expiry of an appeal period”.
Amendments have been made to the publication policy, in part as a result of pressure from the Law Society, with the SRA now required to “consider the disproportionate effect of publicity on the person or body”.
Practising Certificate conditions were also disputed with the Law Society making arguments about the disproportionality of publishing minor conditions which do not have “a material effect on the solicitor’s right to practise”. The committee upheld that, in the spirit of public interest, all conditions should remain on the website.
Would you want your practising certificate to contain any conditions on your right to practise? Do you think this would adversely affect your firm?
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