Solicitors are prone to making mistakes in their dealings with clients. Some of the mistakes may be advertent while others are simply calculated means of taking advantage of the public. As such, the government has come up with bodies that regulate solicitors. A body who regulates solicitors receives complaints from offended clients and attempts to find solutions to them.
Clients’ complaints may arise during conveyance or long after the conveyance has been completed. It is important to note that solicitors’ duties extend well beyond conveyance and as such may be regulated by other bodies not concerned with the conveyance. It is also important to note that bodies regulating solicitors have different jurisdictions. The one alluded to in this article is but an example of the regulators.
Solicitor Regulating Authority (SRA)
The chief regulator of solicitors is the Solicitor Regulating Authority. It regulates solicitors within England and Wales. It is based in Birmingham but has an office in London. It is an arm of the Law Society. It reports to the Legal Services Board.
Solicitor Regulating Authority protects the public from abuse by the solicitors. It does this by encouraging understanding of the law among the common public and by mediating disputes between a solicitor and his client. It improves access to justice for clients who are unable to obtain unbiased legal counsel on matters of conveyance.
The authority promotes quality service delivery among solicitors by encouraging competition among solicitors. It also encourages diversification in the legal sector thereby ensuring that law covers all legal cases put forward by clients. It ensures that solicitors adhere to the principles of integrity and professionalism in their relationships with clients. All these they do with full adherence to the legislation of the land.
Conveyancing Quality Scheme
For solicitors who mostly deal with conveyancing case can take Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) tests. CQS promotes and tests best practices to follow during a conveyancing case for the benefit of the client. Passing this test accredits them, and encourages smooth and fast conveyancing. Solicitors with CQS accreditation are highly sought after for better quality conveyancing case handling.
Solicitor Regulating Authority has tools for achieving its objective. The first and most important one is the Solicitor Handbook. The Solicitor Handbook has ten principles which solicitors must adhere to when dealing with a client. All of these principles ensure that the solicitor works for the best interest of the public. There are some cases where two or more principles clash. When this occurs, the authority uses the principle that most suits the public to solve the dispute between a client and his solicitor.
Also included in the Solicitor Handbook is the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct suggests various ways in which a solicitor may handle his clients. The code is based on possible scenarios in which a solicitor might find himself. This is because the specific needs of one client are different from that of the other even when the property to be sold is the same. Therefore, the codes of conduct are not rigid but flexible enough to allow solicitors to handle situations that are not stipulated in the code of conduct.
The Solicitor Regulating Authority also certifies solicitors and soliciting firms before allowing them to practice. No solicitor is allowed to work without authority from this body. The regulator also ensures that existing solicitors have their Practicing Certificates renewed annually. Solicitors have to be up to date with current rules guiding soliciting. Those who do not conform to the principles of the authority face disciplinary measures from the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.