SRA Risk Outlook 2020/2021

The SRA have published their risk outlook for 2020/2021. The outlook considers the market landscape and the effects of Covid-19 and Brexit, primarily the economic impact;

  • The SRA priority risks for 2020/2021 are:
    • AML:
    • Client money ie do not steal it!
    • Diversity in the profession
    • Information and cyber security:
      • For homeworking keen to ensure wifi connections are secure and a VPN is a good way to achieve this;
      • Note a case study whereby an email from a client had a malicious link which when clicked on sent emails to all of contacts with more malicious attacks. Be very wary of suspicious links;
      • Note a case study whereby a solicitor spotted a hack because their emails were appearing out of time order and with a delay.
    • Integrity and ethics including pursuing unarguable points of law and compromising independence by failing to guide clients on unusually restrictive terms entered into with a third party referral company;
    • Meeting legal needs
    • Standards of service, the SRA has raised concerns particularly in respect of high volume claims work. It also more broadly is asking firms to reflect on their quality assurance processes, so do the review the quality of the work on files, are realistic time and costs estimates being provided, is feedback sought, can the firm still operate when staff are unwell, is there a ‘no blame’ learning culture.

    SRA cracking down on registration under Money Laundering Regulations for ‘tax advice’: essentially they are guiding that if a firm tailors advice in any way to a client about their individual tax position then the firm should be registered for this purpose under the Money Laundering Regulations

    Legal Ombudsman Annual Complaints review

    • LeO have published their annual complaints review for 2019-2020
    • LeO found unreasonable service in 51% of concluded cases.
    • Residential conveyancing attracts the most complaints (28%), followed by PI (15%), wills & probate (13%), family (13%) then litigation (9%).
    • Delay, failure to progress, and poor communication are at the heart of the majority of complaints received.
    • 25% of first tier complaint handling were found to be inadequate. Leo wants to see simpler language in complaints handling and a willingness to accept fault where something has gone wrong;
    • Outlines sector specific complaints, new trends and best practice/useful resources.

Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) to confirmed come into force on 1 September 2021



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