The Solicitors Regulation Authority is an independent body which regulates Solicitors in England and Wales. Its key purpose is to protect the public by ensuring high standards, and by taking appropriate action when these standards have not been met.
The SRA carries out the following functions:
- setting the standards for qualification as a Solicitor and requirements for continuing professional training after qualification
- maintaining the register of qualified Solicitors and issuing annual practising certificates
- preparing rules of professional conduct of Solicitors, particularly to make sure they protect the interests of clients
- regulating both firms and those in sole practice
To ensure that Solicitors are complying with their obligations, the SRA monitors individuals and firms, and investigates concerns about standards of practice and compliance with the rules. Where necessary regulatory action will be taken or an individual Solicitor may be referred to the independent Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
The SRA can, in certain circumstances, close down a firm of Solicitors to protect clients and the wider public, and will then arrange for clients’ money and papers to be returned. It also runs a compensation fund to help people who have lost money as a result of either a Solicitor's dishonesty or their failure to account for money received.
For more specific queries, contact the SRA via their website.
Complaints about poor service or over-charging should be referred to the Legal Ombudsman, but concerns about a breach of professional standards or possible dishonesty should be referred to the SRA straight away.