The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published a new professional standards report outlining the investigation, supervision and enforcement work they carry out.
The “Upholding Professional Standards” report sets out information about how complaints to the SRA are handled, how they conduct their investigations, and how they decide whether and what sort of regulatory action is necessary.
The report, which includes statistics and commentary on the types of matters dealt with, covers the period November 2017 to October 2018 and includes case studies of action taken and covers developing trends.
The professional standards report reveals that over 11,000 reports of concerns are received by the SRA every year but that only a small proportion of these result in some form of sanction, indicating that the vast majority of solicitors and law firms do a good job and earn the trust placed in them. Some of the more regular concerns that are reported include breaches of confidentiality, misleading the court or taking advantage of a third party. Common areas of the law are also reflected – conveyancing and probate, for example.
Key themes that are looked at in the report include:
- sexual harassment,
- dubious investment schemes,
- money laundering,
- immigration and asylum, and
- holiday sickness claims.
The report states that 60% of the concerns are voiced by the public and that of the 11,508 reports made to the SRA 4,711 resulted in an investigation. Of those investigated, 19 were in relation to dubious investment schemes and 70 in respect of harassment.
Publication of the report is part of the SRA’s ongoing drive for transparency and openness and it follows the publication earlier this year of the new Enforcement Strategy and associated ‘topic guides’, which summarise the main mitigating and aggravating factors taken into account when considering possible action across a number of common areas.
The report can be found here: Upholding professional standards 2017/18