Autumn Update to the Risk Outlook 2017 / 2018
The SRA released the Autumn Update to the Risk Outlook on 21st November 2017 and reading it is a must. A few highlights in relation to the key priority risks include:
Standards of Service – the SRA have advised that they will soon be publishing independent research regarding the effectiveness of solicitors’ first tier complaints handling procedures and processes – so one to keep an eye out for.
Under this priority risk, they also highlight their concerns with services provided by solicitors in relation to mis-sold PPI, road traffic PI and holiday sickness claims as well as improper referrals from CMC’s. The SRA issued a warning notice on 6th September 2017 re Holiday Sickness Claims which you can read here
A case which came before the SDT is also referenced where it was concluded that the conduct of the solicitor fell seriously short of the professional standards required and the solicitor was struck off and fined after charging excessive fees. For further information on the judgment, click here
Information Security: unsurprisingly, this remains a key priority risk in 2017 / 2018 and is likely to remain so for some time. The Autumn Update mentioned GDPR coming into effect in May next year and confirms that the ICO have updated the guidance for firms on their website as well as launching an advice line for SME’s.
Under this risk, the SRA also highlight the importance of taking reasonable steps to protect client information and reference a case in September of this year where the SDT approved fines of £15,001 (solicitor) and £20,000 (firm) for disclosing personal information about a client. To read the Gazette article, click here
Investment Schemes – these were the new priority risk in the Outlook this year and the Autumn Update highlights the Warning Notice that was released by the SRA in June 2017, click here to read and also highlights a case where the SDT issued fines of £50,000 to the firm and £10,000 to each of the individuals involved where it is said that the firm allowed their client account to be used as a banking facility during the course of acting in a complex transaction which they did not fully understand. The case is an interesting one and the full judgment can be read here
Finally, under the key priority risk of Independence and Integrity, it is worth reading the warning notice that the SRA issued on 21st September 2017 about individual’s duties regarding not acting in tax avoidance schemes, which can be read here
and also the likely consequences as evidenced by the judgment in June 2017 where a solicitor was struck off the roll for various breaches which included the facilitation of tax avoidance schemes. Again, the full judgment can be read here (http://www.solicitorstribunal.org.uk/sites/default/files-sdt/11563.2016.Chan_.pdf)
There is much more important information in the Autumn Update to the Risk Outlook, so if you haven’t read it and members of staff within your firm haven’t read it – it is important to do so and to circulate it – click here
Remember, reading and keeping up to date contributes towards your continuing competence and learning needs.