If you are taking the bold step of setting up your own practice and are looking to undertake reserved legal services, your practice will need SRA authorisation or equivalent. Whilst the SRA is the most common regulator for solicitors, in certain circumstances you can apply to be authorised by the Bar, CiLEx or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. Our specialist team of solicitors is able to assist you with the application process.
How we can help with the SRA Authorisation Process
With a wealth of experience in both running a successful law practice and assisting other firms to apply for authorisation, our specialist team of lawyers can provide you with the following:
- Help drafting a business plan which will include the risk assessments and contingency plans that are required by the SRA. It is important that you have comprehensive plans for your business and finances. The SRA will wish to see a copy of these and any professional indemnity insurance you have. Your banker will also wish to see a copy.
- Help completing the FA1 firm authorisation application form;
- Help completing the FA2 individual authorisation form in respect of the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA).
The structure of your business
One of the key issues to consider is structure. Will you be a:
- Sole practitioner;
- Traditional partnership;
- Limited liability partnership;
- or limited company.
Our regulatory team work closely with our corporate and commercial team, who can set up limited companies, draft shareholders agreements or partnership agreements.
SRA Authorisation FAQs
How long does the SRA authorisation process take?
The SRA’s goal for processing applications for authorisation is 12 to 16 weeks, although expect this to be longer for an ABS. In practice, they tend to turn things around in 6 to 8 weeks. In any event, you should allow for the time for authorisation to be lengthy and factor this delay into your plans.
What should be in my business plan?
Your business plan should be a comprehensive overview and forecast of how you will run and fund your business. At the very least, it should cover what services you plan to offer, how you will obtain work, where you will be based, risk management, contingency planning, marketing plan, details of the management team and how you propose to deal with SRA compliance.
Do I have to have a client account?
Not every firm of solicitors has a client account. You are only required to open a client account if you are proposing to hold client monies. There are certain types of work which you could not undertake without arrangements in place to hold client money. This includes conveyancing and probate work. For other areas of work, a client account may not be needed.
Can I appeal a refusal of my application?
There is a right of appeal in the event that the SRA refuse your application. If this happens, you should contact us for further advice.
Can I apply for temporary emergency authorisation (TEA)?
The SRA will, in certain circumstances, consider granting TEA. These circumstances are relatively limited and should contact us for advice if you are looking to make an application of this nature.
If you are interested in setting up your own firm, read our ‘10 points’ guide. Additionally, our SRA Investigations page has more information on compliance with the regulatory body.
What we do
Our experienced SRA authorisation lawyers can help you with various stages of the application process. Our services include:
– Help drafting a business plan, including the contingency plans and risk assessments that the SRA requires.
– Help completing the FA1 firm authorisation application form.
– Help completing the FA2 individual authorisation form in respect of the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and Compliance Officer for Finance and Aministration (COFA).
Our multidisciplinary team is made up of specialists in a wide range of services, which means you'll always be represented by an expert in your area.
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Speak to solicitors in one of our offices throughout England and Wales, or arrange calls and remote meetings.
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