Risk Outlook 2018/19


Foreword

Our annual Risk Outlook sets out what we think are the risks and the challenges faced by solicitors and law firms. I know how fundamental the work of solicitors is to every part of our society and our communities, so it is important that firms and professionals take the right steps to meet those challenges.

As the regulator, we can help by sharing our view of the risks and what can be done to address them.

This year we have 10 priority risks that all solicitors and firms need to consider. The Risk Outlook suggests what can be done to manage the risks and avoid harm to the public, the rule of law and the proper administration of justice.

Many of the risks we are highlighting are not new, but none of us can afford to be complacent.

We have included two new priority risks this year – managing claims and cyber security. We are increasingly concerned about the practises of some firms that offer personal injury work, including holiday sickness claims. Similarly, some firms bringing payment protection insurance claims may not always be meeting the high standards we expect.

Cyber security has always featured in the Risk Outlook as a consideration when protecting people’s information and money. But we recognise that this is of increasing concern to the profession, so we have set it out as a separate risk. We have worked with the National Cyber Security Centre to provide you with top tips on keeping cyber-safe.

Our Risk Outlook also updates you on issues such as accessing legal services, dubious investment schemes, money laundering, information security and diversity. We remind you of the importance of not drafting the terms of non-disclosure agreements in a way that suggests a person may not report misconduct to a regulator or a law enforcement agency or make a protected disclosure.

As many of you will know, we are changing how we regulate to focus on high professional standards, removing outdated constraints and helping to tackle the barriers that hinder access to legal services. We are aiming to bring in our new Codes of Conduct, Accounts Rules and other changes, including new practising flexibility, in spring 2019. In my view, these changes will provide a solid foundation for you to manage risk in your firms, whilst freeing you up to innovate and grow.

Paul Philip
Chief Executive

Open all
  1. Findings from the Legal Problem and Resolution Survey, 2014–15, Ministry of Justice, 2017
  2. Findings from the Legal Problem and Resolution Survey, 2014–15, Ministry of Justice, 2017
  3. The legal needs of small businesses 2013-2017 for the Legal Services Board by BMG Research, 2018
  4. Findings from the Legal Problem and Resolution Survey, 2014–15, Ministry of Justice, 2017
  5. Findings from the Legal Problem and Resolution Survey, 2014–15, Ministry of Justice, 2017
  6. The legal needs of small businesses 2013-2017 for the Legal Services Board by BMG Research, 2018
  7. Tracker survey 2017 - data tables, YouGov for the Legal Services Consumer Panel, 2017; The legal needs of small businesses 2013-2017, Legal Services Board, 2018
  8. Tracker survey 2017 - data tables, YouGov for the Legal Services Consumer Panel, 2017
  9. Online survey of individuals' handling of legal issues in England and Wales 2015, Ipsos MORI for The Law Society and Legal Services Board, 2016; Understanding consumer experiences of conveyancing legal services, IFF Research for the SRA, 2018
  10. Price transparency research in the legal services market , Economic Insight for the SRA, 2018
  11. Tracker survey 2017 - data tables, YouGov for the Legal Services Consumer Panel, 2017
  12. Online survey of individuals’ handling of legal issues in England and Wales 2015, Ipsos MORI for The Law Society and Legal Services Board, 2016
  13. Tracker survey 2017 - data tables, YouGov for the Legal Services Consumer Panel, 2017
  14. Tracker survey 2017 - data tables, YouGov for the Legal Services Consumer Panel, 2017
  15. SRA Innovate, Better Information proposals, and solicitors working in non-regulated businesses, along with our other Handbook reforms.
  16. This is also known as the ‘Internet of Things’.
  17. The business case for diversity, SRA, 2018
  18. Unlocking the benefits of diversity, SRA, 2017
  19. Data security incident trends, Information Commissioner’s Office, 2018
  20. Strengthening tax avoidance sanctions and deterrents: a discussion document, HMRC, 2016
  21. Newell-Austin v Solicitors Regulation Authority, [2017] EWHC 411 (Admin)
  22. Wingate & Anor v Solicitors Regulation Authority [2018] EWCA Civ 366
  23. Specialise means that personal injury services account for more than 50% of their annual turnover.
  24. Suspicious activity reports: Annual report 2017, National Crime Agency, 2018
  25. Annual report 2016/17, Legal Ombudsman, 2017
  26. Legal Ombudsman data 2016/17
  27. Research into the experiences and effectiveness of solicitors' first tier complaints handling processes, London Economics and YouGov for the SRA and the Legal Ombudsman, 2017
  28. Understanding consumer experiences of conveyancing legal services, IFF for the SRA, 2018; Research into the experiences and effectiveness of solicitors' first tier complaints handling processes, London Economics and YouGov for the SRA. 2017; Research into Client Care Letters, Optimisa Research for the legal regulators and the Legal Services Consumer Panel, 2016; The Language of Complaints, IFF Research for the Legal Ombudsman, 2017
 
Print page to PDF