Self-Reports & Other reports to the SRA
Is the firm obliged to report?
The SRA Standards and Regulations 2019 significantly amended the duty to report facts and matters to the SRA.
The new Codes of Conduct respectively obligate firms and you to report facts or matters that you reasonably believe are capable of amounting to a serious breach of regulatory arrangements, whether by you, the firm, or anyone or any other body in the regulated community. Compliance Officers have their own obligations.
The SRA’s Enforcement Strategy is intended to guide you on when a matter is sufficiently serious to warrant a report, but application is often difficult.
Misjudge when a report is required and you may either aggravate the serious of SRA allegations, or face a claim for breach of confidentiality.
I need to report, how do I go about doing it?
In our experience, how you report is very likely to influence how the SRA deals with the issue. Demonstrate that you are able to self-regulate, and there’s a greater chance the SRA will determine that it’s unnecessary to make a formal disciplinary finding.
Even if the matter is so serious that a disciplinary outcome is required, how you approach the investigation is likely to go a long way to mitigating the sanction. Have you been able to demonstrate insight, were the firm’s systems at fault, has the firm or individual taken any action to reduce the risk of recurrence?
How can we assist?
Each report we file is tailored to the particular circumstances. We will be able to assess how much detail is required, what evidence is required, what action needs to be taken, and how to implement it. We’ll also have in mind other potential ramifications, such as the firm’s/your professional indemnity insurance cover.
Get the report wrong, and the consequences could be extreme. It almost invariably makes commercial sense to seek specialist advice when preparing a self-report.
Why choose us?
First and foremost, we are specialists in SRA Investigations and understand what the SRA will be interested in. We file and advise on self-reports each year on behalf of wide variety of law firms, large through small. We understand what the SRA is looking for, and how best to avoid or minimise regulatory and disciplinary action.
Reporting well is key to achieving the best outcome and, handled well, is likely to save the firm and you in the long run.
Robert Forman in our team is the author of The Law Society's 'Compliance Officers' chapter (among many others) in The Solicitor's Handbook 2019 and The Solicitor's Handbook 2022, providing expert and definitive commentary on reporting obligations.
'My firm had been struggling with cash flow difficulties for years due to legal aid cuts and delays in payments. As the financial difficulties escalated I self reported fearing the worst – an SRA intervention. Luckily for me I was recommended to Murdochs and was put in touch with Nick Trevette. He immediately came out to see me and over the following months assisted me in ensuring an orderly closure of the firm without there being any intervention. These were stressful times and Nick Trevette was always on hand at all times of the day including weekends to provide advice and guidance. He liaised on my behalf with the SRA and to the extent it was possible, took away the stress. Nick Trevette is one of those rare lawyers. He has that human touch and without doubt made the difference in my case. Should any of my friends or colleagues need advice or representation when dealing with the SRA, I would have no hesitation in recommending Nick Trevette.' L, Solicitor, Client testimonial
Robert Forman's webinar of 30th September 2019 for The Law Society: 'Changes to the rules on reporting concerns: the SRA enforcement strategy' can be purchased from The Law Society Professional Development Centre.