An announcement by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has stated that there has been a massive increase in the number of disciplinary matters it has commenced; an increase of 55% this year alone. Between January and August 2014, the SRA opened up 90 new cases – an increase of 32 over the same period last year. There has also been a drastic increase in the number of warnings given by the SRA. In the same period, 128 warnings had been given compared to 102 in the entirety of 2013 and only 21 in 2012.
The SRA is going to spend time analysing the cause of this increase. Many of the referrals are queries that can be easily and quickly resolved but there are a number of more complex matters which take time to investigate. These range from money laundering to poor financial management. The SRA are even being called upon to deal with an increase in the number of bogus or unauthorised solicitors’ firms (particularly on the internet) and unregulated persons practising law.
According to the SRA, the problems are not confined to the small firms either. Larger firms also come under the SRA’s umbrella, but they tend to be more aggressively defended. It has been alleged that some firms make freedom of information requests to “deflect resources” and dissuade the SRA from taking the matter forward.
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