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Over 400 freelance solicitors now regulated by Solicitors Regulation Authority following introduction of new rules and standards

More than 400 freelance solicitors are now regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) following the introduction of new rules in 2019.

The finding forms part of new research assessing the impact of the “shorter, simpler and less prescriptive” standards and regulations.

Launched in November 2019, the new codes of conduct and rules enable solicitors and law firms to “work in new ways” and deliver their services more flexibility, while also reducing regulatory burdens.

This included the creation of separate codes of conduct for firms and individuals, the adoption of simplified Accounts Rules, and the introduction of the SRA Transparency Rules and new enforcement strategy.

The survey of 3,000 solicitors revealed that nearly three in four (74 per cent) practising professionals are familiar with the changes made and are positive about the impact of the reforms.

A similar number also felt that having separate codes of conduct for firms and individuals was helpful overall.

One in two (54 per cent) solicitors, meanwhile, said they had taken advantage of new ways of working, while over a third (37 per cent) said flexible working has helped them cope during the coronavirus pandemic.

The research also shows that more than 400 solicitors are now regulated by the SRA, allowing them to provide reserved legal services on a freelance basis.

Commenting on the report, Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased to see that the majority of the profession have not only found the transition to the new rules largely seamless, but that solicitors and firms are also beginning to take advantage of the flexibility they were designed to deliver.

“At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has placed huge pressures on both consumers and law firms, removing unnecessary regulatory burdens and allowing solicitors to be more agile and adaptable in how they work day-to-day looks to have been of direct benefit to many.

“Of course, it’s still early days, and we won’t truly see the impact these changes will deliver for the public for some time to come, but overall the findings of this research suggest encouraging signs that we are moving in the right direction.”

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