SRA ponders policing of referral fee ban
The Solicitors Regulation Authority will set out within weeks how it intends to police the forthcoming ban on referral fees.
The SRA has confirmed it will draw up a formal policy position in advance of a 12-week consultation starting this autumn.
The authority has stated that ‘all options remain on the table’, but the ban is likely to involve a reworking of mandatory outcomes of the code of conduct.
Around 30 responses were received to the SRA’s initial discussion paper on the government’s plan to ban referral fees for personal injury cases by next April.
Responses are now being collated ahead of the consultation launch, as the SRA tries to pin down the definition of a referral fee and how the ban would be consistent with outcomes-focused regulation.
David Hackett, SRA regulatory policy manager, said: ‘We had a very good response to the discussion paper, as you'd expect. There are a number of interesting aspects to the ban which we encapsulated in our paper, and these drew the responses we've received.’
The Ministry of Justice sees a ban as an important step in reducing costs in personal injury cases and preventing spurious claims.
But the SRA admitted in its own discussion paper that it would not be able to prevent alternative business structures being created to get round the ban, so long as they complied with regulatory obligations.