SRA wants YOUR views

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has asked for views on two consultations that have been launched to reduce regulatory burden.

The first consultation looks at discontinuing the Keeping of the Roll as an annual exercise, while the second explores increasing the level of residual client account balances that solicitors can donate to charity.

At present,the Keeping of the Roll involves non-practising solicitors who want to keep their status having to apply annually through mySRA and paying a £20 fee, with the whole process taking the SRA several weeks to complete, which the body said is ‘time-consuming and incurs cost both for the applicant and the SRA.’

The Authority is now proposing to only carry out the exercise when there is a regulatory need, and so reducing the cost for those no longer practising. For residual balances in client accounts, the SRA has suggested increasing the limit that solicitors can redistribute without applying for SRA permission from £50 to £500.

The current rules allow firms to donate untraceable balances of up to £50 to charity, with anything over this amount requiring written permission, with the SRA receiving an average of 900 requests a year.

By increasing the limit, solicitors who cannot find clients who deposited money, despite having taken all reasonable steps, will be able to deal with a larger number of cases without having to seek approval, helping the SRA reach their aim of ensuring that its activities are proportionate to address regulatory risks.

Crispin Passmore, SRA Executive Director for Policy, said: ‘We are committed to reducing regulatory burdens wherever we can, and these consultations are a further part of that commitment. On balance, the amount of time and associated cost for solicitors and ourselves involved in these two areas of work do not add any real regulatory value.’

The consultations last for eight weeks and close on 26 May. They can be found here: www.sra.org.uk/consultations

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