The Solicitors Regulation Authority have introduced a new digital badge for authorised law firms to show that they are regulated by the SRA. The public can be assured when they see the badge that are dealing with properly trained and qualified solicitors. The badge can only be displayed on the website of regulated firms.
In recent years there has been deregulation of various parts of solicitors’ traditional work. Some of which is now undertaken by people who style themselves as “lawyers” but who have not undergone the rigorous training required to qualify as a solicitor, and indeed in many cases have undertaken no formal legal training at all.
The SRA provides the public with certain undertakings and guarantees to ensure that solicitors provide transparency in pricing and guarantees of good service. They set high standards as to who can become a solicitor and they monitor and regulate with a firm hand to ensure these standards are adhered to. The SRA make rules that solicitors must follow to protect their clients. These are not protections afforded to clients of unregulated lawyers.
To become a solicitor and to receive a practising certificate requires extensive training and assessments and even when the exams are over there is a further two-year training regime to undertake, and final exams, before full qualification. All aspects of the law are covered in the training and whilst many solicitors go on to specialise in certain areas, they will have all undergone some training in a broad variety of legal disciplines. In addition, even when qualified, solicitors must undertake continual professional development to ensure that they remain up to date in those areas of law that they practice.
Ethics are an important area of training and as officers of the Courts of England and Wales, honesty and integrity are essential and continuous conditions under which solicitors practice. A person pretending to be a solicitor can be charged, and if found guilty, can be sentenced to two years imprisonment, or fined, or both.
We are proud to be able to call ourselves SNS Solicitors, and we are proud to display the digital badge because we are committed to the standards required by the SRA. By issuing the badge, the SRA are attempting to assist the public in discerning who is and who is not properly qualified, and who are and are not protected by the SRA’s guarantees and assurances. SNS Solicitors are delighted that they are authorised to use the badge from day one of its introduction.