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Reserved Legal Activities

Lucy Reed made this Freedom of Information request to Solicitors Regulation Authority

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Dear Solicitors Regulation Authority,

1 Please could you tell me how many complaints or referrals you
have received from members of the public, the judiciary or legal
profession about the carrying out of reserved legal activities
without proper authorisation under the Legal Services Act 2007
(conduct of litigation or exercise of rights of audience) and
provide statistics for what action (if any) was taken by the SRA.

2 Please could you tell me how many investigations have been
carried out by the SRA in each calendar year from
2010 to date in connection with the carrying out of reserved legal
activities without proper authorisation under the Legal Services
Act 2007 (conduct of litigation or exercise of rights of audience).

3 Of those investigations please can you tell me :
a) how many prosecutions have been pursued
b) how many convictions secured
c) how many investigations, prosecutions and convictions related to
Mckenzie friends / lay representatives or advisers or persons not
holding themselves out as lawyers or not legally qualified (broken
down into such categories as you record)
d) how many such matters are pending at investigation or
prosecution stage.

4 Please provide any policy or strategy you operate in relation to
matters above.

Yours faithfully,

Lucy Reed

SRA Information Compliance, Solicitors Regulation Authority

Dear Ms Reed

 

Freedom of Information Request – Our Ref: FOI/SRA/0036

 

Thank you for your request for information.  Your request was received on
29 February 2016 and I am treating this as a new information request under
our Freedom of Information Code of Practice ("the Code").

 

You have requested access to the following information:

 

1.    Please could you tell me how many complaints or referrals you have
received from members of the public, the judiciary or legal profession
about the carrying out of reserved legal activities without proper
authorisation under the Legal Services Act 2007 (conduct of litigation or
exercise of rights of audience) and provide statistics for what action (if
any) was taken by the SRA.

    

2.    Please could you tell me how many investigations have been carried
out by the SRA in each calendar year from 2010 to date in connection with
the carrying out of reserved legal activities without proper authorisation
under the Legal Services Act 2007 (conduct of litigation or exercise of
rights of audience).

    

3.    Of those investigations please can you tell me :

 

a.    how many prosecutions have been pursued

b.    how many convictions secured

c.    how many investigations, prosecutions and convictions related to
Mckenzie friends / lay representatives or advisers or persons not holding
themselves out as lawyers or not legally qualified (broken down into such
categories as you record)

d.    how many such matters are pending at investigation or prosecution
stage.

    

4.    Please provide any policy or strategy you operate in relation to
matters above. 

 

The SRA is a part of the Law Society but acts independently in carrying
out its regulatory functions. The Law Society is not covered by the
Freedom of Information Act (the FOIA) as it is not a designated authority,
but has adopted its own voluntary Code of Practice which closely reflects
the FOIA. The Code may be found at:

 

[1]http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/Get-in-touc...

 

The Code applies to all information held by the Society, including the
SRA.

 

You will receive the information requested within 20 working days from the
date of your request unless the SRA does not hold the information or there
is a reason for it to be withheld.  I will write to you in any event.

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please do not hesitate to contact
me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Nicky Squire

Senior Records and Information Officer

Business Improvement and Quality Assurance
Solicitors Regulation Authority
Phone: 0121 329 6641, Ext: 6641

[2]www.sra.org.uk

 

SRA, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN Tel: 0370 606 2555

Email: [3][email address]

Web: [4]http://www.sra.org.uk/

 

P Go green – keep it on screen

 

This email, and any attachment, is intended for the attention of the
addressee only. Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is
not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return email and send a copy to
[email address]. Thank you for your co-operation.

Please note the author of this email is not authorised to conclude any
contract on behalf of the Solicitors Regulation Authority by email.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/Get-in-touc...
2. http://www.sra.org.uk/
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.sra.org.uk/

SRA Information Compliance, Solicitors Regulation Authority

Dear Ms Reed

 

Freedom of Information Request – Our Ref: FOI SRA 0036

 

Please find below the response to your information request under the Law
Society’s Freedom of Information Code of Practice ("the Code").

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

 

You have requested access to the following information:

 

Question 1:

 

Please could you tell me how many complaints or referrals you have
received from members of the public, the judiciary or legal profession
about the carrying out of reserved legal activities without proper
authorisation under the Legal Services Act 2007 (conduct of litigation or
exercise of rights of audience) and provide statistics for what action (if
any) was taken by the SRA.

 

Response:

 

We can provide information relating to the number of reports about firms
or individuals that were alleged not to have the proper authorisation to
carry out legal activities. This is a wider set of data than that set out
in the question, but is the best we can provide from what we record
electronically on our systems.

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| 2010| 2011| 2012| 2013| 2014| 2015| 2016|
|----------+----------+---------+---------+----------+---------+---------|
| 605| 496| 365| 445| 897| 720| 142|
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

Each report of misconduct reported to the SRA is risk assessed and
following this assessment some matters are referred to our Supervisory
function for investigation. It should be noted that sometimes multiple
reports are received that result in just one conduct investigation by
Supervision so the relationship between allegations and investigations is
not necessarily one to one.

 

Question 2:

    

Please could you tell me how many investigations have been carried out by
the SRA in each calendar year from 2010 to date in connection with the
carrying out of reserved legal activities without proper authorisation
under the Legal Services Act 2007 (conduct of litigation or exercise of
rights of audience).

    

Response:

 

This table shows the outcomes recorded against the investigations that
have taken place in Supervision as a result of the reports received in the
first table. The years shown in this table relate to the year the original
report was received. It should be noted that in a few instances an outcome
will be duplicated in this table due to multiple reports being received in
separate years that relate to the same investigation file.

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Outcome | 2010| 2011| 2012| 2013|2014|2015|2016|
|---------------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+----|
|Allegation Upheld / Action taken | 106| 94| 50| 36| 56| 15| 0|
|---------------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+----|
|Referrals to the SDT | 18| 6| 10| 14| 16| 7| 0|
|---------------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+----|
|Not Upheld / No Action | 235| 202| 264| 358| 386| 249| 20|
|---------------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+----|
|Open Investigation* | 0| 0| 0| 2| 13| 84| 63|
|---------------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+----|
|Grand Total | 359| 302| 324| 410| 471| 355| 83|
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

*Some investigations are still in progress and have not yet reached an
outcome.

    

Question 3:

 

Of those investigations please can you tell me :

 

a.    how many prosecutions have been pursued

b.    how many convictions secured

c.    how many investigations, prosecutions and convictions related to
Mckenzie friends / lay representatives or advisers or persons not holding
themselves out as lawyers or not legally qualified (broken down into such
categories as you record)

d.    how many such matters are pending at investigation or prosecution
stage.

 

Response:

 

a.    Since 2010 we have pursued 3 prosecutions, none of which were  in
respect of conduct of litigation or exercise of rights of audience.  In
addition, we have pursued 3 prosecutions jointly with another agency,
although these were not in respect of conduct of litigation or exercise of
rights of audience but in connection with Immigration Act offences.  There
is also another matter which we didn’t prosecute but which was dealt with
by the relevant Court as a matter of Contempt. Finally, there was a s42
Solicitors Act matter (so not conduct of litigation or exercise of rights
of audience) directed to be referred to the police who, in the end, did
not prosecute.

b.    In respect of the 6 cases referred to above, 6 convictions were
secured plus a finding of Contempt.

c.    We do not hold this information.

d.    Two matters are pending prosecution – we are working with other
agencies in respect of both and neither relate to the conduct of
litigation or exercise of rights of audience.

 

Additionally, we do issue Warnings when it is proportionate and
appropriate to do so, rather than prosecute.

 

Question 4:

    

Please provide any policy or strategy you operate in relation to matters
above. 

 

Response:

 

There is no particular policy in relation to regulated persons carrying on
a reserved activity when not authorised to do so.  However, the SRA has a
criminal prosecution policy:

 

[1]http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/enforce...

 

 

I hope this information is of help.

 

Kind regards

Nicky Squire

Senior Records and Information Officer

Business Improvement and Quality Assurance
Solicitors Regulation Authority
[2]www.sra.org.uk

 

SRA, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN Tel: 0370 606 2555

Web: [3]http://www.sra.org.uk/

 

P Go green – keep it on screen

 

This email, and any attachment, is intended for the attention of the
addressee only. Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is
not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return email and send a copy to
[email address]. Thank you for your co-operation.

Please note the author of this email is not authorised to conclude any
contract on behalf of the Solicitors Regulation Authority by email.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/enforce...
2. http://www.sra.org.uk/
3. http://www.sra.org.uk/

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Lucy Reed please sign in and let everyone know.