Fixed penalties for lower level misconduct, fines based on a firm’s turnover and a pilot of personal impact statements in cases involving harassment are among the measures to be introduced under changes to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s fining powers announced today. 

The reforms, which have been subject to a public consultation, will come into effect later in the year. The SRA said the changes should help cases to be resolved more quickly, while new fining bands will enable different levels of fine to be issued to a low-earning junior solicitor compared with a senior equity partner. Fines will be up to 5% of a firm’s annual domestic turnover. 

The regulator also pledged to publish more information, written in plainer English, about disciplinary decisions.  It will also introduce set periods - based on decision type - for which individual decisions will remain on the public record. These will range from three years for warnings or fines to strike-off decisions remaining public permanently.

Personal impact statements will be made available to help the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal decide sanctions for offences involving sexual harassment, discrimination and harassment, the SRA said. The pilot is expected to run for three years. 

Paul Philip, SRA chief executive said: ‘We have engaged extensively on our approach to sanctions and their publication. The feedback from both the public and profession has been invaluable in making sure we arrive at an approach that is effective, efficient and fair to all those involved.’


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