Solicitors who failed to disclose relevant information about their past on compliance officer applications could have their licences removed, regulators have warned.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority plans to pursue hundreds of applicants who failed to declare facts such as criminal convictions or a previous bankruptcy – even when their firms eventually had their compliance officers approved.
The Gazetteunderstands that measures under consideration include having individuals reassessed under the Suitability Test set for newly-qualified solicitors.
Around 1,200 nominees failed to declare potentially relevant issues in their applications for compliance officer status, the SRA revealed last week. Of these, 450 failed an automatic verification report for multiple issues. Following detailed investigations and renominations, around 60 nominees still had issues so serious that their application was refused.
The SRA’s report on compliance officer applications said non-declaration could constitute a failure to act with integrity and harm public confidence in legal services.
Sanctions could include a warning, a rebuke, a fine of up to £2,000 or referral to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.