The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is consulting on plans to reintroduce the requirement for non-practising solicitors to complete an annual application confirming that they wish to remain on the roll.
In making their application, individuals will also be confirming that the data the SRA holds and publishes on them is accurate and up to date. The need to reintroduce an application process for solicitors without practising certificates – for example those who are retired, work in-house, or are not currently practising – has come from recent law changes on how personal data is handled.
Details of all authorised solicitors, including those without practising certificates, are recorded by the SRA on the roll of solicitors, extracts of which are published on the regulator’s online Solicitors Register. Solicitors with practising certificates are already required to confirm their data is accurate and up to date as part of their annual certificate renewals.
The SRA’s consultation proposes restoring the annual keeping of the roll exercise from April 2023 with the reintroduction of an associated administration fee of between £30 and £40.
If anyone to who it applies does not complete a keeping of the roll return, they would from that point lose the right to refer to themselves as a non-practising solicitor or access the associated benefits this title brings.
Anna Bradley, Chair of the SRA, said:
“Recent changes to data legislation, mean that we have a legal obligation to ensure that all information held on the roll of solicitors is up to date and accurate.
“We are aware that some non-practising solicitors might not have updated their details on our systems for some time and we are therefore introducing a requirement for annual updating of the roll for non-practising solicitors. In the first year, we will be making extensive efforts to get in touch with those whose details may be out of date to make them aware of the changes.”
Solicitors without practising certificates who work within certain types of organisations, for example government agencies, will be exempt from needing to participate in the keeping of the roll exercise.
Under GDPR regulations introduced in 2016, the SRA has a responsibility to ensure it maintains accurate data relating to individuals, and ensures this is processed fairly and lawfully. To carry out this responsibility data held must be periodically reviewed.
Click to read the full details on the consultation on the SRA website. The consultation will run until 20 May 2022.