SRA seeks views on cost-saving idea

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is seeking views on a cost-saving initiative whereby the amount of time documents are kept following an intervention is reduced.

Currently the SRA has six million such documents relating to closed matters in storage, the cost of which is borne by the profession.Only 33,000 documents, or 0.55% of them have ever been asked for by clients.

With the number of interventions expected to rise because of increased financial instability in firms, the SRA is seeking to reduce the associated costs by altering the length of time certain files should be kept.

A large number of these documents are conveyancing documents but with the rise of electronic conveyancing how many do you think actually need to be kept?

For example land registration is now electronic so is the risk of not storing the files counterbalanced by electronic evidence?

Alternatively could the files be filtered and then only the most important documents scanned?

An eight week consultation which can be accessed here, has been launched asking for views on the new proposals.

Helen Herniman, SRA Director of Client Protection, said: “Because of previously undisclosed financial stability issues, the predicted number of interventions we may have to carry out has risen dramatically and the associated costs, especially where firms have failed to adhere to or implement effective file destruction policies, have increased significantly.

“Intervention costs have therefore been driven by the need to secure and manage a disproportionately large number of closed files.

“The profession ultimately bears these costs, so we promised in March that we would look at ways of reducing the costs of interventions where possible.

"We have considered how long we keep files following an intervention into a firm, and the proposed changes to our policy are set out in the consultation document.” 

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