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August 21st, 2017

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News in Brief:

FSCS Limit

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme limit increased, with effect from the 30th January 2017, to £85,000 per individual (previously £75,000) or £170,000 for joint accounts. Check your Terms of Business have the correct figure.

GDPR

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have confirmed they have now completed their first piece of detailed topic-specific GDPR guidance around consent and are asking for feedback via a short consultation with a closing date of 31st March 2017. Follow the link below to access the guidance and provide feedback:

https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/consultations/gdpr-consent-guidance/It is understood that, following the consultation, the finalised guidance will be issued in May 2017.

Brexit

On 1st March 2017, the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was debated as part of its second reading in the House of Lords. The Bill was not opposed and had now progressed to Committee Stage.

For further information on Brexit and the legal sector, follow the link below to the Law Society’s information pages:

http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/brexit-and-the-legal-sector/

Experiences of Consumers who may be Vulnerable in Family Law

In June 2016, the SRA commissioned research to provide insight into the expectations and experiences of clients that may be vulnerable in family law, focussing on access, cost and quality of service as well as the competence, behaviours and practices of solicitors in legal firms offering family law to vulnerable clients.

On 2nd March 2017, the SRA published the results of the research and their response to it, stating that as a result of the report and the findings of the CMA, they intend to take the following action:

  • • Increase the availability of data to clients;
  • • Conduct research into costs transparency and first tier complaints;
  • • Carry out further work to determine the prevalence and impact of some of the issues outlined in the research including visits to family law firms to gain a better understanding of how they provide and adapt their services for vulnerable clients.

To read our full article and to access the Report and SRA’s response, follow the link below:

https://www.legal-eye.co.uk/experiences-of-consumers-who-may-be-vulnerable-in-family-law-march-2017

Acting as a Professional Attorney

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has recently released a Good Practice Guide for individuals, such as solicitors, appointed to act as professional attorneys under an LPA. The Guide details best practice. The Law Society, who have contributed to it, recommend it as a useful resource.

Below is a link to the Good Practice Guide – a must-read for all staff involved in such work:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-guardian-practice-note-acting-as-a-professional-attorney

SRA Diversity Data Collection – Update

In early March, the SRA released an update on their requirements for diversity data collection.

They have confirmed that they are prioritising the collection of information about financial activities carried out by firms and, therefore, they are re-scheduling diversity data collection from the previously advised date of May 2017 to “later in the year”.

What does this mean for your firm?

  • • Firms are required to publish data each year (subject to compliance with data protection legislation) and so data that has been collected should be published, if appropriate, in accordance with the requirements laid down.
  • • The SRA have confirmed that if you have collected data ready for reporting in May 2017, then you can still report this via MySRA in the usual way but there is no longer a requirement to do this on or before the end of May 2017.
  • • Later in the year, an updated diversity data questionnaire will be released by the SRA and a further date given by which data collected must be reported. Firms will still be able to use the previously collated 2016 data for the purpose of reporting once the SRA releases the date for reporting later in 2017.