The SRA may send a Forensic Investigator to attend the firm to conduct an investigation, usually giving a written notice in advance. The amount of notice may indicate the level of concern that the SRA has about the practice. This is a vital stage in the process and will colour everything that follows. For advice on how to deal with an investigation and the Investigator, ring us without delay.
You are entitled to be represented during the investigation and including the interview when Forensic Investigator conducts the closing interview. Interviews are recorded and unlike in a criminal context, there is a positive obligation on a solicitor to co-operate with the SRA’s investigation despite the content being available as evidence against you.
The Forensic Investigator will then prepare a Forensic Investigation Report, detailing alleged breaches of the Code and reporting on their findings. The report will be given to an SRA caseworker, who will write to the solicitor enclosing the report and setting out various questions they want answers to. This letter is referred to as an ‘Explanation with Warnings’ (“EWW”) letter. This is a crucial part of the disciplinary process. The solicitor is given a time limit in which to respond.Contact Us
It is possible for an investigator to conduct a desktop investigation and send an EWW without any attendance on the firm. This is not an indication that the matter is being dealt with less seriously. This is a crucial stage and your response will be raised at every stage of the process. Advice should be sought before responding.
The solicitor’s response to the EWW letter will need to be coherent and consistent with what a solicitor will say if the case reaches the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Care should be given not to aggravate the situation by disclosing ignorance of any SRA regulation or lacking insight into the seriousness of any alleged breach. A response to the EWW letter will form the basis of any defence a solicitor has throughout the investigation stage and before the Tribunal (if the matter goes that far). It is essential that legal advice is sought before submitting a response. Our team has significant experience in preparing responses.
Preparing the right response at this stage is at worst bringing forward preparation but may result in considerable savings at the later stages.
The caseworker will refer the case to an SRA Adjudicator/Authorised Officer, who will make one of the following decisions:
– A finding of no case to answer;
– To take no action (rarely exercised);
– Issue an expression of regret regarding the solicitor’s conduct;
– Provide a letter of advice (rarely exercised);
– Issue a warning, a rebuke or a serious reprimand;
– Impose a fine of up to £2000;
– Refer the solicitor’s conduct to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
What we do
Our experienced SRA Investigation Solicitors can help you with any aspect of an investigation by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Our services include:
– Preparing for an Forensic Investigation;
– Representation at an Interview with a Forensic Investigator;
– Responding to an EWW Letter;
– Advising of the Forensic Investigators Report;
– Advising on remedial action which may be required.
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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