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Reporting and self-reporting potential misconduct

The SRA’s Standards and Regulations 2019 – effective from 25 November 2019 – have changed the landscape when it comes to reporting potential misconduct. SRA regulated professionals were previously only required to report serious breaches when they were satisfied serious misconduct had actually taken place. Reporting or self-reporting required evidence gathering and investigation and the decision as to whether to report was a judgement call for the individual in each case.

Whilst reporting and self-reporting remains a matter of judgement, the SRA’s new requirements mean that the evidential test of whether the duty to report is triggered is now met at a much lower threshold. All it requires is for you to consider that there “facts or matters that you reasonably believe are capable of amounting to a serious breach”. It has become a question of objective, rather than a subjective, judgement.

Knowing when to report – or, even more delicately, when to self-report – isn’t an exact science. Done properly and at the right time, it can be an effective way to demonstrate good governance and reduce the risk or severity of any investigative or enforcement action by the SRA. Done poorly or prematurely – or not done at all, with the issue coming to light by some other means – it can significantly impact your prospects of avoiding investigation or enforcement action and, potentially, put you firmly on the SRA’s radar as a firm to keep under review.

If you’ve identified an issue you’re considering reporting to the SRA, we can help you decide the appropriate course of action and, if necessary, guide you through the process to ensure you maximise your chances of achieving the best outcome possible.

If you have any questions about how we can help with self-reporting, you can contact us on 020 3780 0406 or at RDteam@leighday.co.uk.

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