The Solicitors Regulation Authority has identified nine unnecessary regulations affecting law firms – and has appealed to solicitors to identify more for simplification or abolition.
Announcing the next phase of the authority’s Red Tape Initiative, Charles Plant, the SRA’s chair, last week appealed to the profession to ‘engage with us’. He said the authority would ‘very carefully consider’ every proposal sent in.
The fruits of the exercise will appear in a new edition of the SRA Handbook in April, he told an event organised by the authority in Birmingham on Friday.
Plant said the initiative had been inspired by a firm’s complaint about waiting 16 weeks for approval to have a trainee seconded to a client’s in-house department. After agreeing that the process should be speeded up, Plant said he thought: ‘Why the hell are we doing this? Do we really need to have to give approvals in these circumstances?’
The nine initial proposals for unnecessary regulations emerged from 10 suggested by Chris Perrin, general counsel at magic circle firm Clifford Chance, Plant said. They range from trainee secondments to removing restrictions on charges by in-house lawyers working in not-for-profit organisations.
Several would amend the training regulations, for example to remove the need for students to re-enrol after four years.
However, in response to a question he said that the SRA - based at the Cube, pictured - had declined to include a proposal for removing the need to record non-material breaches of the code of conduct.
The consultation closes on 8 February.