SRA's regulatory approach will aid pro bono

The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA’s) programme of regulatory reform will aid pro bono work in the legal sector, the head of the SRA has said.

Speaking on the first day of National Pro Bono Week, SRA Chief Executive, Paul Philip, said that the increasing flexibility offered by its regulatory regime should make it easier for solicitors to carry out pro bono work.

The SRA’s regulations and requirements on a solicitor to meet their professional obligations and act with integrity are in place, irrespective of whether work is paid or not. But some in-house solicitors have expressed uncertainty about the requirements on them when carrying out voluntary work.

In response, the SRA is publishing new guidance to help clarify the decisions solicitors have to make when considering pro bono engagements.

But the SRA has stressed that simplicity, not further regulation, is the answer to questions around solicitors carrying out pro bono.

Paul Philip said: “The purpose of regulation is to uphold professional principles and protect those people who need it. Pro bono work clearly fits well with that approach and we support solicitors’ appetite to do more.

“We are committed to simplifying what we do and how we do it. Increasingly that will mean moving away from detailed and prescriptive rules in favour of making it easier for the profession to deliver services.

“That is a progressive, proportionate and effective way to regulate. And one of the benefits will be to empower those who want to undertake voluntary work to get on with doing so.”

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