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Feedback provided to me by COFAs at the Leeds & Yorkshire COFA Forum and the Newcastle COFA Forum, by delegates at my training courses and by my clients is that they prefer to have the comfort of following prescriptive rules that are contained in one place. They feel that whilst the draft wording of the proposed new Rules is easier to read than the old Rules, it would not be easier to comply with.
The most common response has been “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”.
It is not clear how the current Rules prevent competition and innovation or why new entrants cannot understand the Rules when lawyers have done so for many years.
It is not clear why the SRA needs to make the changes as proposed. The proposals note that it is to reduce burdens and cost on regulated firms. I fear that the proposals will have the opposite effect. My reasoning for this is set out in my response. Particularly where judgement is required, lawyers and reporting accountants will be forced to take additional steps to justify what actions they have taken since the black and white requirements are no longer there.
The proposals are likely to have some far reaching impacts, some of which have been identified by the SRA including cost to the SRA, profession and the public plus a loss of confidence by the public in the profession. Other impacts don’t appear to have been considered including VAT requirements, accounting requirements and law firm management/financial stability requirements.
Why change something that works in practice to something that may well be a risk to all involved?
To see the full response, click here
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