The SRA are attempting to ensure honesty and integrity of law firms and their representatives, with the aim to provide a more transparent system for consumers.
The SRA made their intentions very clear by invoking the use of section 43 orders. The section 43 order allows for the banning of non-solicitors without SRA permission. Over two days, four section 43 orders have been used.
The SRA claim: “Our role is to set, promote and secure in the public interest, standards of behaviour and professional performance necessary to ensure clients receive a good standard of service and the rule of law is upheld.
“Where, in our view, non-compliance represents a risk to the public or consumers or where, in our view, a firm fails to cooperate effectively with us, we may take formal enforcement action. In serious cases, we may control a practice or discipline a firm, or even remove them from practice if they represent a serious risk.”
According to Today’s Conveyancer, one particular incident concerned a financial controller who disregarded client confidentiality. Samuel Onyebuchi Oblorah, who at the time worked for TTS Solicitors, neglected rules for confidentiality, leaving sensitive documents outside of his home.
Employed as a Consultant in the Mental Health Act, the documents contained information regarding vulnerable people and those lacking capacity. He was fined £2000 and ordered to pay £600 in costs.
While some practitioners continue to abuse the trust given to them by both their firms and client, the SRA are using their authority to ensure legal service professionals operate transparently, fairly and in the interests of the consumer.