SRA looks at doing more to help solicitors and firms to offer new services in new ways
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published proposals to make it easier for law firms to develop new ideas and new thinking.
After launching SRA Innovate in spring, the regulator is now looking at how it can streamline its waiver process. Existing or new firms can already apply for specific rules to be waived, allowing them to run their business in the way that suits them best.
The proposals simplify the process and set out clear criteria, helping firms to know what might be possible. The new waivers policy also suggests publishing any waivers granted, to ensure fairness and transparency.
In a further step to encourage new services while ensuring proper safeguards for the public are in place, the SRA is proposing further developments to its Innovation Space. By setting out more detail about how this ‘safe space’ might work, the SRA hopes to encourage firms to try even more innovative ways of providing services that could benefit the public and small businesses.
The proposals include a ‘no enforcement tool’ in line with the approach taken at, for example, the Civil Aviation Authority, which has allowed the testing of drones for parcel delivery, although this breaches its current rules.
Paul Philip, Chief Executive, said: "I want us to do more to get out of the way of new thinking and new ideas. Firms of all types - our entrepreneurial sole practitioners through to large firms - want to try different ways of offering the services that people are looking for.
"That is good for business and good for the public. We should do everything we can to help.
"We launched 'SRA Innovate' earlier this year, sharing resources that support innovation. This is the next step. By simplifying how we waive rules, and going even further in our Innovation Space, we have the potential to help forward-thinking firms to thrive, as well as providing real public benefit from new services and greater competition.”
The consultation can be found here: www.sra.org.uk/sra/consultations/enabling-innovation.page
The SRA launched SRA Innovate in the spring of 2016 - a collection of resources and access to advice to help firms who want to innovate. Details of how the SRA can support such firms can be found here: https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/innovate/sra-innovate.page