Changes that will make it easier for law firms to do business are included in the latest version of the SRA Handbook, which was published on 1 November.
We are committed to reforming its rules and regulations, removing any deemed unnecessary that do not protect the interests of clients. In doing so, we are playing our part in freeing up law firms to get on with the business of delivering quality legal services. Changes in the latest version of the Handbook include:
- Amendments to the Separate Business Rule that enable solicitors to offer other professional services;
- Removing the need for the compliance officers of small firms to apply to be licensed by us;
- Streamlining a number of processes for law firms applying to be licensed as alternative business structures, such as the need for us to approve individual managers; and
- Expanding the exemption for firms to obtain an accountant’s report
Paul Philip, Chief Executive, said: “These changes are part of our commitment to reforming our regulatory model, encouraging growth in the sector, and ensuring our approach is proportionate. We have also taken another step towards opening up routes into the profession by allowing qualification through the apprenticeship route.
“A large number of the changes we have made have come from suggestions made by those in the profession. We will always look at ideas brought to us and carry them through if we believe they have merit, as these latest amendments show.”
Other major changes in Version 15 of the Handbook include harmonising the way sole practitioners are authorised, bringing them into line with all other firms, and removing the need for those taking the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme to obtain a certificate of eligibility. The Handbook can be found here