From December 2018, all regulated law firms have been required to publish information on the prices they charge, and what these cover, across a number of common services. The rules requiring this – which survived the move to the Standards and Regulations 2019 intact – are to be found in the SRA Transparency Rules.
Since their introduction the SRA has carried out a number of rounds of compliance checks and it continues to do so, regularly writing to firms and asking them to certify that their website complies with the requirements in the rules. Thus, not only do firms face the risk of disciplinary action if their websites are not as required, but also they are at risk of sanction for misleading the SRA if a COLP incorrectly certifies that the firm is compliant with these requirements when it is not.
Website checks are easy for the SRA to carry out and they have indicated that they are going to get tough on firms that have non-compliant websites and who fail to make the necessary changes.
A surprising number of firms’ websites remain non-compliant despite the warnings that have been issued. This may be because the firm has failed to appreciate what is required of it or simply that it is unaware that the requirements exist. This is particularly the case for those firms that do not undertake work in the areas covered by the Costs Information requirement at Rule 1 of the Transparency Rules and who fail to comply with the requirements in relation to Complaints Information at Rule 2 or the requirements in relation to Regulatory Information to be found in Rule 4.
Infolegal can assist your firm with all aspects of its transparency compliance including carrying out a review of your website, providing you with text designed to address the requirements of the Transparency Rules and ensuring that the SRA Digital Badge is correctly displayed.