The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have produced new guidance for those solicitors and firms responsible for the supervision of individuals delivering legal services including where those services are delivered by individuals not authorised by the SRA.
The aim of the guidance, entitled “Effective Supervision” is not only to set out the key expectations of firms and their managers to follow when arranging and providing supervision but also to give guidance on particular situations and areas of legal work, including good practice suggestions.
This guidance is designed to help managers and senior staff understand what is expected of them in relation to statutory and regulatory supervisory requirements but does not contain any new standards or requirements beyond those in legislation and our current Standards and Regulations.
The approach set out in the guidance is intended to meet the regulatory objectives set out in the Legal Services Act 2007, which include protecting the public interest, promoting the interests of consumers, encouraging a diverse and effective legal profession, and promoting adherence to the professional principles.
The Guidance refers to four key themes in relation to supervision:
- The need for it;
- Appropriate arrangements;
- Conducting it; and
- Ensuring it is effective.
It also looks at issues including the selection of supervisors, choosing supervisory arrangements, setting how much work a supervisor should check, when face-to-face supervision is necessary and recording supervisor arrangements. In addition it looks at how supervising personnel should be conducted where there is remote working, supervision outside of the employment relationship (for example contractors or outsourced work) and the supervision of trainees.
The Guidance concludes with some case studies looking at conveyancing and claims management.