Solicitors Regulation Authority consults on updates to financial penalty regime

On 28 June, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published a 12-week consultation on proposed updates to its financial penalty regime in response to the new powers granted under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023. These updates aim to ensure the SRA’s fining approach remains robust, fair, and transparent, especially in light of its newly unlimited fining capabilities in cases involving economic crimes.

Key proposals include introducing new fining bands for serious misconduct, establishing minimum fines across all bands, and increasing penalties for any financial gain from misconduct. The SRA seeks to refine its band-based penalty system to better address the severity of offences and the financial benefits derived from misconduct. The proposed adjustments aim to enhance deterrence, uphold public confidence, and maintain consistent regulatory standards.

Additionally, the SRA plans to update its published fining guidance, which will articulate clear criteria for assessing the impact and harm caused by misconduct and detail the adjustments for financial gains obtained through such actions. This consultation also addresses the handling of specific cases like drink driving, proposing that financial penalties may not always be the appropriate response, depending on the circumstances and the presence of aggravating factors.

The SRA emphasises the importance of these changes in maintaining professional standards and ensuring that penalties effectively deter misconduct while protecting the public and the integrity of the legal profession. Feedback from this consultation will guide the final adjustments to the SRA’s fining framework.

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