SRA Code of Conduct

What is the SRA Code of Conduct?

The SRA Code of Conduct sets out the way in which Solicitors should behave in relation to their clients so that they represent their profession in an ethical way and do not bring the profession into disrepute. Not only does this apply during a Solicitor’s working life but also covers the way in which they conduct themselves outside of work. It also provides guidance on the way a solicitor behaves towards other members of staff in their practice and their relationship with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Failure to comply with the SRA Code of Conduct can ultimately result in a Solicitor being reprimanded, fined or even struck of the roll. A client who feels that his solicitor has acted inappropriately has recourse to the SRA for redress after following the firm’s complaints procedure.

The SRA Code of Conduct covers a number of areas including avoiding discrimination in your professional relationships, abuse of your position and your behaviour towards colleagues. It also gives guidance on the level of service you deliver to your clients and your competence in providing this.

One particular area where solicitors often fall foul of the SRA Code is in relation to the SRA Accounts Rules. This is point 4 of the SRA Code. A large number of cases which come before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal each year are as a result of solicitors failing to conduct their accounts in accordance with the SRA rules and regulations. This may be because of overwork, ignorance, deliberate misappropriation of client funds or overcharging for services.

Solicitors are on the whole not experts in accounts. Their expertise is in law. It is therefore vital that they have an accounts team who do have in-depth accounts knowledge with particular emphasis on the SRA new rules.

Working with an outsourced legal accounts company such as The Law Factory has a number of benefits for a law firm when it comes to compliance. Not only do they have significant experience of legal accounts and the SRA Accounts Rules but also they have the benefit of being external. This ensures that they cannot be pressurised into turning a blind eye to a client or office account transaction which does not follow the SRA compliance. Passing your accounts to an external company, also allows the solicitor to concentrate of providing an excellent compliant service to their clients in all other aspects of the SRA Code of Conduct.

The Law Factory provide a comprehensive outsourced legal accounts service to solicitors and have a wealth of experience with interpretation of the SRA Accounts Rules and also assisting firms with SRA Audits.

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