SRA changes

2020 promises to be a year of change from several perspectives, not least in the field of employment law. ESPHR’s founder, Peter Byrne, recently spoke to CIPHR, to explore developments across solicitors’ regulation which will impact internal – and external – operations. In case you missed the piece, you can catch up below.

The Legal Services Board has recently approved sweeping regulatory reforms proposed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) under its ‘Looking to the Future’ programme. The changes were effective from 25th November 2019, and key developments include:

  • Creating separate codes of conduct for firms and individual solicitors.
  • Simpler account rules which focus on the principles of keeping client money safe.
  • Enabling solicitors to carry out ‘non-reserved’ legal work from within a non-legally regulated business.
  • Allowing solicitors to provide reserved legal services on a freelance basis.

Up to recently, solicitors in non-legally regulated firms have not been allowed to provide commercial advisory services to either the public or business. However, they are now able to reside within a non-legally regulated business and offer a wide range of support, otherwise known as ‘non-reserved’ legal work, such as employment law advice (with the exception of one or two very specific instances).

Similarly, solicitors can now operate on a freelance basis, offering further choice as to who, and where, clients engage legal services from.

Anna Bradley, Chair of the SRA Board, said: "Our new regulations place a sharp focus on the high professional standards that we and the public expect, while allowing solicitors greater freedom in how they deliver their services. That can only be good for both the public and the profession."

It remains to be seen if these changes will accelerate much-needed change in the employment law and HR advisory markets and drive more options for savvy HR teams looking for modern and transformational legal support… but these relaxations in previously outdated regulations is, nonetheless, welcome.


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Author: Peter Byrne

Founder, ESP Group

Pete set up ESP Group in March 2003, after running an HR resource management business for three years. 

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