04 October 2019

UK solicitor body launches consultation

New SRA strategy aims to help broader public interests as it focuses on high professional standards, innovation and collaboration.

The UK Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has launched a consultation on its proposed Corporate Strategy 2020-2023, with a focus on high professional standards and supporting innovation through technology.

Three objectives

The SRA proposes three high level objectives: First, setting and maintaining high professional standards for solicitors and firms as the public would expect and ensuring that a commitment to excellent operational service and a positive customer experience is at the heart of all it does. Second, actively supporting the adoption of legal technology, and other innovation, that helps to meet the needs of the public, business community, regulated entities and the economy. Third, continually building the SRA’s understanding of emerging opportunities and challenges for the users of legal services, the legal sector and its role in effectively regulating it. The approach has been developed after extensive discussions with the SRA board, and a range of experts from within and beyond the legal sector. The SRA states it recognises that its future strategy is set in a context of significant uncertainty and change for society and the economy. This means regulators will need to be flexible and able to adapt their approach quickly. In its strategy, the SRA commits to looking to working more closely with other organisations where it could benefit the public. Anna Bradley, SRA chair said “Legal services that people and businesses from every community can access and trust are fundamental to our society and economy. As we move into the next decade, we will continue to have a sharp focus on high professional standards, while also making sure that legal services can move with the times.”

Innovation focus

Innovation and the adoption of legal technology is a core focus in the new strategy. It recognises that technology presents a huge opportunity to deliver legal services in new ways that will better meet the needs of more users, as well as the potential to further enhance the reputation and competitiveness of English and Welsh law. Ms Bradley explained, “I think technology has the potential to help address the problem that far too many people struggle to get the legal help they need. We want to help unlock those opportunities for the users of legal services and for the profession.” Concluding here remarks, Ms Bradley said “And in this fast-changing world, we know regulators need to be on the front foot. Our new Strategy sets out our commitment to looking ahead and finding new ways of working with other organisations to best serve the public.” The consultation runs until 23 January. The strategic priorities are set at a high level and will be underpinned by future consultation on an annual work programme setting out the detail of the steps the SRA will take to achieve its priorities. The consultation can be found here.