UK: Solicitors Regulation Authority Will Be “Pragmatic” During Lockdown Period

The UK Law Gazette reports……

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has said it will take a ‘proportionate approach’ to enforcing rules on firms working through the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.

In its first public statement on the emergency, the regulator said it expects solicitors and firms to continue to meet high standards expected by the public, and to do everything they can to comply with rules.

But the SRA stressed it will ‘remain pragmatic’ and take into account mitigating circumstances if complaints about solicitors are made. It will focus on serious misconduct, while ‘clearly distinguishing’ between people who are trying to do the right thing and those who are not.

The SRA said: ‘We expect firms to have appropriate contingency plans in place for disruption, but we recognise that these are exceptional circumstances and the coming months could present particularly challenging issues.’

The regulator has faced criticism for its silence since the prime minister first announced restrictions on people’s movement last week. The Bar Standards Board had published its own guidance on compliance within a day of Boris Johnson urging people to stay at home.

Solicitors facing compliance difficulties linked to the virus are advised to ‘clearly document’ the approach they have taken, and to contact the SRA’s professional ethics team if they are unsure about a specific scenario.

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