Firms have started to leave the Solicitors Regulation Authority for a rival regulator now rules have changed to make transfers easier, it was revealed this week.
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers today confirmed that Clutton Cox in Bristol and Fidler & Pepper Lawyers in Nottingham have moved over completely from the SRA.
Another three SRA-regulated firms, EHL Group in Leicester, Poole Townsend Estates in Cumbria and online firm Your Conveyancer, have moved their conveyancing practices into separate CLC-licensed firms.
SRA rule changes coming into force last October removed the barrier to firms who wished to leave its stable and switch to another approved regulator.
Amendments to the SRA minimum terms and conditions removed the obligation on firms to have run-off cover for claims arising from work done while it was under SRA regulation. This would apply if the firm’s new regulator was signed up to a protocol on terms agreed by the SRA.
Effectively, firms were free to switch regulators without taking out extra insurance cover, provided the new regulator had similar client protections in place.
CLC chief executive Sheila Kumar said the change was an important driver for promoting competition and meeting the objectives of the Legal Services Act, which created the different regulators.
‘We are excited to see that firms are taking advantage of the freedom to choose to move to a specialist regulatory regime that supports innovation,’ said Kumar.
‘We take the time to listen to businesses’ needs. We are flexible and work with businesses to help them deliver compliant, sustainable solutions for the long-term.’
Firms opting to jump ship to the CLC will find they have similar requirements for being open about their prices. The SRA this week published guidelines for conveyancing firms that will be required to state their costs on their websites, and the CLC has previously announced the same intention.