A specialist regulator is renewing its push for law firms to leave the Solicitors Regulation Authority. In a press release on making greater use of its regulatory powers to ensure proportionate regulation, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, which regulates property and probate lawyers, said it will step up efforts to encourage firms and lawyers from other parts of the legal profession to switch regulator.
At the end of 2021, CLC was regulating 223 practices with a combined turnover of £276m. The regulator had 1,499 licensed conveyancers and licensed probate practitioners on the register, up 85 on the previous year.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the largest legal services regulator in England and Wales, covering 80% of the regulated market. It oversees 196,000 solicitors and more than 10,300 law firms.
The CLC said in its press release that it has been working for some years to encourage firms run by solicitors and legal executives to join its community.
Data provided the past five years reveals that eight firms left the SRA for the CLC. Seven firms hived off their conveyancing practice or established a sister company in CLC regulation. Four firms acquired an existing CLC practice. There was one SRA into CLC merger.
The CLC said applications have been declined and more transfers are in the pipeline.
Dame Janet Paraskeva, who was appointed the Law Society’s first chief executive in 2001, said progress in persuading solicitors to switch regulator has been slow because of issues such as run-off cover, lender panels and Covid. Now that those issues have been resolved, numbers are picking up.
‘It’s about choice,’ she stated. ‘We are not expecting a great rush, but we are starting to see a slow and steady increase in switchers. We know the business of conveyancing. We know probate. If that’s what people need regulated, then we are the best placed to provide it.’