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Hidden dangers

The SRA’s new handbook may be leaner but the move towards more outcomes-based regulation could bring further uncertainty for solicitors and confusion for the public. Jean-Yves Gilg reports

25 January 2019

Shorter and leaner, the new SRA handbook has been heralded as a radical departure from prescriptive regulation, freeing lawyers to deliver services in innovative ways and shoring up the solicitor brand while providing greater access to justice.

In truth the newly entitled SRA Standards and Regulations, which is expected to come into force early this summer, merely follows the path opened by its predecessor towards further outcomes-based regulation.

This is regulation for grown-ups; or so the SRA likes to imply. With greater liberalisation of the legal services market and the variety of ways in which services are expected to be delivered, the regulator needed to move away from the traditional approach.

But however grown-up this new handbook may be, there are already whispers that this latest version conceals ominous developments for both solicitors and the public.

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