In its most current plea for independence, The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) is making its case for separation from the Law Society in its response to Treasury’s call for details on its re-evaluation of the anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory regime.
The call comes ahead of the launch of the government’s examination on making legal service regulators independent from their representative bodies, which will be released this spring.
In its summary for examination on the AML supervisory program the federal government stated its objective to make the UK financial system a hostile environment for illegal finances, while minimizing the problem on legitimate businesses and minimizing the total burden of policy.
In its response, the SRA re-stated its continuous claim that regulators should not be so closely linked with a representative body, ‘AML managers ought to be independent from disturbance or control from any representative body operating on behalf of the profession.’ The regulative body included: ‘Consumers have higher trust in experts who are regulated by an independent regulatory body, rather than by the career itself.’
The SRA also criticized the Law Society’s minimal powers to fine companies and in-house attorneys in contrast to the powers it has actually been granted to great Alternative Business Structures (ABS). Area 44D of the Solicitors Act 1974 limitations the SRAs fining powers to 2000. If the body feels a heavier fine ought to be offered it must refer the case to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, which has unrestricted fining powers. The SRA is able to great ABSs for as much as 250m, with fines of as much as 50m for management and employees.
The SRA stated in its submission: ‘The structure of business is not pertinent as many standard firms overshadow ABSs. Swifter settlement by the SRA without tribunal involvement would lower the overall governing problem, benefitting all regulated businesses. This would likewise lower hold-up, uncertainty and expense from those facing the disciplinary procedure and would support quickly, reasonable and firm governing action.’
City of London chief executive Law Society David Hobart was the chief executive of the Bar Council throughout the last round of governing changes. Previously this year, Hobart voiced his issue that the federal government had an absence of rely on the Law Society’s capability to perform its function well because of its reputation as ‘a big unwieldy democracy’. He is now waiting for the outcome of the federal government assessment on making legal service regulators independent from representative bodies.
Hobart informed Legal Business: ‘In the debates around legal policy, context is everything. Till we see that [examination] file, we do not know precisely what the government will speak with on, so it is truly prematurely to comment further. To use a mountaineering analogy: we’re in the foothills at present, and the summit is hidden by clouds.’