SRA Admission Regulations 2011

Version 9 of the Handbook was published on 1 April 2014. For more information, please click "History" above.

SRA Admission Regulations 2011

Introduction to the Admission Regulations

Preamble

Authority: Made on 17 June 2011 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Board under sections 28, 79 and 80 of the Solicitors Act 1974 with the approval of the Legal Services Board under paragraph 19 of Schedule 4 to the Legal Services Act 2007

Date: These regulations came into force on 6 October 2011

Replacing: The Solicitors' Admission Regulations 2009

Regulating: Those individuals seeking admission to the roll of solicitors in England and Wales

Regulating: appeals from SRA decisions relating to admission as a solicitor.

Overview

Outcomes-focused regulation concentrates on providing positive outcomes which when achieved will benefit and protect clients and the public. These regulations set out the outcomes-focused requirements governing the process for admitting people to the roll of solicitors. They also cover appeals against SRA decisions taken under the SRA Training Regulations and the SRA Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme Regulations.

Education and training underpins the regulation of solicitors - it ensures the creation of competent and ethical practitioners. We regulate and set requirements for all stages of pre-qualification training in order to give solicitors the tools they need to adhere to the Principles.

The Principles

These regulations form part of the Handbook, in which the 10 mandatory Principles are all-pervasive. They apply to all those we regulate and underpin all aspects of practice. Outcomes relevant to education and training are listed beneath the Principles.

You must:

  1. uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice;
  2. act with integrity;
  3. not allow your independence to be compromised;
  4. act in the best interests of each client;
  5. provide a proper standard of service to your clients;
  6. behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services;
  7. comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner;
  8. run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles;
  9. run your business or carry out your role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity; and
  10. protect client money and assets.
Outcomes

The outcomes which apply to these regulations are that if you are an individual seeking admission to the roll of solicitors:

O(AR1)

you have complied with all relevant training and/or assessment requirements; and

O(AR2)

you have recourse to appeal decisions taken by us in relation to qualification as a solicitor.

These outcomes, and the regulations that flow from them, apply to all individuals seeking admission to the roll of solicitors in England and Wales - i.e. students, trainee solicitors, and qualified lawyers from another jurisdiction seeking qualification via transfer.

Part 1: Interpretation

Regulation 1: Interpretation and definitions
1.1

The SRA Handbook Glossary 2012 shall apply and, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a)

all italicised terms shall be defined; and

(b)

all terms shall be interpreted;

in accordance with the Glossary.

1.2

On any appeal to the High Court under these regulations:

(a)

section 28(3E) of the SA provides that the High Court may make such order as it thinks fit as to payment of costs, and

(b)

section 28(3F) of the SA provides that the decision of the High Court shall be final.

Part 2: Appeals

Regulation 2: Appeals against our decisions on student enrolment and certificates of eligibility for overseas lawyers
2.1

If you are an applicant for a certificate of student enrolment under regulation 12 of the SRA Training Regulations Part 1 - Qualification Regulations, whose application has been refused under regulation 15 of those regulations, you may appeal to the High Court under this regulation against our decision on a review of the application under regulation 15.3 of the SRA Training Regulations Part 1 - Qualification Regulations.

2.2

If you are seeking to establish eligibility under regulation 4 of the QLTR or regulation 2 of the QLTSR other than pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC or the Establishment Directive, you may appeal to the High Court under this regulation against our decision on a review under regulation 16(1) of the QLTR, or, where appropriate, regulation 6.1 of the QLTSR, where we have:

(a)

refused your initial application on the ground that you are not suitable to be admitted as a solicitor; and

(b)

refused to reverse that decision on the review.

2.3

If you are seeking to establish eligibility pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC or the Establishment Directive, you have rights of appeal under regulation 36 of the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007 or regulation 35 of the European Communities (Lawyer's Practice) Regulations 2000 respectively - see 16(3) and (4) of the QLTR or, where appropriate, regulations 6.3 and 6.4 of the QLTSR.

2.4

An appeal under regulation 2.1 or 2.2 above must be brought within three months of you receiving notification of our decision.

2.5

On an appeal under regulation 2.1 or 2.2 above, the High Court may:

(a)

affirm our decision;

(b)

direct us to issue a certificate of enrolment, or to issue a certificate of eligibility, as the case may be; or

(c)

make such recommendations to us as the High Court thinks fit.

Regulation 3: Appeals against our decisions arising from character and suitability issues
3.1

If you are an unadmitted person, you may appeal to the High Court under this regulation against our decision:

(a)

on an application under regulation 33.2 of the SRA Training Regulations Part 1 - Qualification Regulations for review of the imposition of a prohibition or sanction;

(b)

if you have been certified eligible under regulation 4 of the QLTR or regulation 2 of the QLTSR other than pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC, on an application under regulation 17(2) of the QLTR, or regulation 7.2 of the QLTSR, for review of the imposition of a prohibition or sanction;

(c)

on an application under regulation 33.4 of the SRA Training Regulations Part 1 - Qualification Regulations for removal of a prohibition or sanction; or

(d)

on an application under regulation 17(5) of the QLTR, or regulation 7.5 of the QLTSR, for removal of a prohibition or sanction.

3.2

If you are an unadmitted person who has been certified eligible pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC, you have rights of appeal under regulation 36 of the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007 against:

(a)

prohibition of an attempt at the QLTT, or any attempt at any or all of the assessments under QLTSR; or

(b)

refusal to lift that prohibition on an application for review;

(c)

see regulation 17(4) of the QLTR or 7.4 of the QLTSR.

3.3

An appeal under:

(a)

regulation 3.1(a) or (b) above must be brought within three months of you receiving notification of our decision on the review;

(b)

regulation 3.1(c) or (d) above must be brought within three months of you receiving notification of our decision on the application for removal of the prohibition or sanction.

3.4

On any appeal under regulation 3.1 above, the High Court may:

(a)

affirm our decision;

(b)

direct us to issue a certificate of enrolment, or to issue a certificate of eligibility, as the case may be; or

(c)

make such recommendations to us as the High Court thinks fit.

Part 3: Applications for admission

Regulation 4: When you can make an application for admission
4.1

Your  application for admission may be made at any time after you have complied with the SRA Training Regulations, the QLTR or the QLTSR.

Regulation 5: Form and fees
5.1

Your  application for admission must be made to us in such form and be accompanied by such fee and documents as we may from time to time prescribe.

Regulation 6: Our decisions
6.1

If we:

(a)

are satisfied that you have complied with the SRA Training Regulations, the QLTR or the QLTSR; and

(b)

are satisfied as to your character and suitability to be a solicitor;

we shall issue you with a certificate of satisfaction in accordance with section 3(1) of the Solicitors Act 1974.

Guidance note

(i)

We will satisfy ourselves as to your character and suitability in a number of ways. These will include, but are not limited to, CRB disclosures and Police National Computer checks, as well as self-disclosure, in accordance with the SRA Suitability Test.

6.2

In any case where we refuse to issue a certificate of satisfaction under regulation 6.1 we shall notify you to this effect stating the grounds for refusal within one month of you complying with all reasonable requirements we make in respect of the application.

6.3

Once the deadline in regulation 6.2 has passed without us issuing a certificate of satisfaction or notifying you of refusal, the application is deemed, for the purpose of any appeal, to have been refused and refusal notified to you on that date.

6.4

Where we refuse or fail to issue a certificate of satisfaction under regulation 6.1, except where you have established eligibility under regulation 4 of the QLTR, or regulation 2 of the QLTSR pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC or the Establishment Directive, you may appeal under this regulation to the High Court, which may:

(a)

affirm our decision;

(b)

direct us to issue a certificate of satisfaction to you; or

(c)

make such recommendations to us as the High Court thinks fit.

6.5

If you have established eligibility pursuant to:

(a)

Directive 2005/36/EC, you have the right to appeal to the High Court under regulation 36 of the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007; or

(b)

the Establishment Directive, you have the right to appeal to the High Court under regulation 35 of the European Communities (Lawyer's Practice) Regulations 2000;

within three months of receiving notification or deemed notification of our refusal, against refusal or deemed refusal of a certificate of satisfaction.

Regulation 7: Admission following issue of certificate of satisfaction
7.1

Where a certificate of satisfaction has been issued under regulation 6.1, you shall be admitted as a solicitor within a reasonable period on a day we determine, unless cause to the contrary in writing is shown to our satisfaction.

Regulation 8: Cause for preventing admission following issue of a certificate of satisfaction, and review of such a decision
8.1

If, after we issue a certificate of satisfaction but before your admission, cause is shown in writing to our satisfaction that you should not be admitted, we shall not admit you as a solicitor and we shall notify you of our decision in writing.

8.2

You may within one month of receiving notification of our decision, ask for the matter to be reviewed.

8.3

In such a case, except where you have established eligibility under regulation 4 of the QLTR or regulation 2 of the QLTSR, pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC or the Establishment Directive, you may appeal under this regulation to the High Court, which may:

(a)

affirm our decision;

(b)

direct us to admit you as a solicitor; or

(c)

make such recommendations to us as the High Court thinks fit.

8.4

If you have been certified eligible pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC you have the right, within three months of receiving notification of our decision, to appeal to the High Court under regulation 36 of the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007 against:

(a)

our decision under regulation 8.1 above not to admit you as a solicitor; or

(b)

our refusal to reverse that decision on a review under regulation 8.2 above.

8.5

If you have been certified eligible pursuant to the Establishment Directive, you have the right, within three months of receiving notification of our decision, to appeal to the High Court under regulation 35 of the European Communities (Lawyer's Practice) Regulations 2000 against:

(a)

our decision under regulation 8.1 above not to admit you as a solicitor; or

(b)

our refusal to reverse that decision on a review under regulation 8.2 above.

8.6

An appeal under regulation 8.3 above must be brought within three months of the applicant receiving notification of our decision on the review.

8.7

You may make up to three applications to us to reverse our decision not to admit you as a solicitor, after intervals of not less than twelve months from the final determination as to the initial decision, or from the final determination of your previous application for review, as the case may be.

8.8

Within three months of receiving notification from us of our decision on an application to reverse the decision not to admit you as a solicitor, you may appeal under this regulation to the High Court, which may:

(a)

affirm our decision;

(b)

direct us to admit you as a solicitor; or

(c)

make such recommendations to us as the High Court thinks fit.

Regulation 9: Admission certificates
9.1

We shall prepare an admission certificate in respect of each person admitted. Every certificate shall be signed by the Chief Executive of the SRA or attested in such manner as the Chief Executive shall authorise.