Non-practising solicitors are to be charged £20 next year to remain on the roll, the Solicitors Regulation Authority revealed yesterday. This is the same level as in 2014, when the SRA abandoned its annual ‘keeping of the roll’ exercise.

In August, when it announced that roll-keeping would be revived to comply with data protection legislation, the regulator estimated the charge at between £30 and £40. About 60,000 non-practising solicitors are on the roll.

The revival of the charge has angered some retired solicitors, including former criminal defence solicitor and veteran Gazette columnist and author James Morton. He said this week that he plans to leave the roll after nearly 60 years in protest.

In a letter to the Gazette today, Morton says: ‘I know times are hard, but really. The savings must be nugatory, as the number of us left who qualified for this munificence must dwindle every year. To take away this modest recognition is insulting.

‘I would rather be struck off than pay, and that is what will happen in March.’

Morton, who entered the profession as an articled clerk in 1963, ghost-wrote the autobiography of gangland enforcer ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser.


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