News release

SRA seeks views on two consultations

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is asking for views on two proposals that should further reduce the regulatory burden by ensuring that its activities are proportionate to address regulatory risks.

The Authority wants comments on two consultations that were launched this week. The first looks at no longer carrying out the Keeping of the Roll as an annual exercise; the second is about increasing the level of residual client account balances solicitors can donate to charity.

The current process for Keeping of the Roll involves those wanting to retain their status as a non-practising solicitor applying annually through mySRA and paying an administration fee of £20. The process takes the SRA several weeks to complete, is time-consuming and incurs cost both for the applicant and the SRA.

The Authority is proposing to only carry out the exercise when there's a regulatory need - reducing the cost for those no longer practising.

For residual balances in the client account, the SRA has suggested increasing the limit that solicitors can redistribute without applying for permission from £50 to £500. The current rules allow firms to donate untraceable balances up to £50 to charity.

Anything over this amount requires written permission from the SRA. By increasing the limit, solicitors who cannot find clients who deposited the money despite having taken all reasonable steps, will be able to deal with a greater proportion of cases without the need to seek individual approval. The SRA receives an average of 900 such requests each year, and solicitors have redistributed more than £1million in unclaimed client monies.

Crispin Passmore, SRA Executive Director for Policy, said: "We are committed to reducing regulatory burdens wherever we can, and these consultations are a further part of that commitment. On balance, the amount of time and associated cost for solicitors and ourselves involved in these two areas of work do not add any real regulatory value."

The consultations last for eight weeks and close on 26 May.

Go to the consultations

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