The new chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has outlined a back-to-basics approach for the industry regulator, in one of his first public speeches since his appointment.
Paul Phillip, who took over from the role from Antony Townsend in February insisted that the SRA needed to adopt a clear regulatory philosophy moving forward to ensure that their proposals had coherence.
Speaking at the Manchester Law Society regulatory conference, he said: “We need to get back to basics and think about what it means to be a professional. The legal market place is changing more quickly than in medicine.
“Why do we regulate? What impact are we having on the regulated community and do we listen enough?
“It is becoming increasingly clear to me that we can’t continue in the same way, with a series of piecemeal changes, which have often been reactive. We need a clear regulatory philosophy to ensure that the proposals the SRA put out have some coherence, and we need to be clear about the effects of them on solicitors.
“The current arrangements still err too much on the side of caution and are unnecessarily prescriptive.”
Mr Phillip went on to lament the current SRA handbook, describing it as ridiculously long and insisted that consultations that are led by the regulator needed to have more rhythm, so that they were introduced with regular intervals, rather than on a constant basis.
He also pledged his commitment to resisting external pressures to add further rules to the profession, insisting that he would rather focus on the battle against fraud and crime.
1. Legal Futures; http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/sra-hits-back-after-law-society-attack-on-indemnity-reforms