Solicitors are in line for a near 10 per cent cut in their practising certificate fees, the profession’s joint governing bodies revealed on Friday.
“We have reduced the cost of our work very significantly since 2014 and we are committed to further reduction,” said Paul Philip, chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. “This underpins our wider reform programme, reducing bureaucracy and costs and helping to address the affordability and accessibility of legal services for the public.”
The setting of the practising certificate fee is wrapped up in the highly political relationship between the authority and the Law Society. The latter technically is the front line regulator but it is obliged by legislation to delegate all practical responsibility for regulation to the SRA.
It is understood that senior figures at the regulator are becoming increasingly frustrated for having to set a fee that also takes into account funding for the society’s representation and lobbying work.
The proposed 9 per cent cut to the next fee will go to a three-week consultation. A source at the regulator acknowledged that it would be extremely unlikely that any practising solicitor would object to the cut – however, plenty might suggest that the reduction should be larger.