Solicitors and Law Firms

The dramatic increase in the regulatory burdens placed on solicitors and law firms has led to an upturn in their need to access external advice on their obligations and how best to respond when things go wrong. Lawyers no longer seek legal advice solely for the purpose of defending proceedings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal; our clients now require advice on when to report a matter to the SRA, how to comply with the SRA Handbook, business structures, insolvency, internal investigations and SRA investigations.

Kingsley Napley has extensive experience in assisting solicitors and law firms in dealing with regulatory issues. Our legal services regulatory team consistently carries a substantial caseload in this area.  The team is led by Iain Miller and Julie Norris together with support from other members of the regulatory team and the wider firm. Iain Miller has specialised in this area for over 20 years. Over that time he has advised almost all the legal services regulators, advised firm and individual solicitors and acted in relation to over 100 cases in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal as well as acting on appeals and other litigation involving solicitors. He is General Editor of the leading textbook on legal services regulation: Cordery on Legal Services. Julie Norris regularly advises solicitors and law firms on self-referral obligations and specialises in the provision of advice at the early stages of SRA investigations, including attendance at SRA interviews; providing advice designed to mitigate the reputational risks associated with disciplinary or regulatory disposals.  

Our work in this area sits alongside our advice to legal services regulators both in England and Wales and internationally.

How can we help?

  • Business structures for firms that are seeking to establish in England and Wales or are considering changing their practice structure to an alternative business structure.  This includes strategic advice on how best to structure the business through to applications for authorisation;
  • Regulatory due diligence for those seeking to acquire or invest in a law firm.  Just like any other business those investing in a regulated legal services provider will need advice on the regulatory issues and any risks they may present;
  • Ethical Advice.  It is sometimes the case that firms and individuals will need to make difficult choices around their duties to their clients, the courts, and the wider public interest.  There may be no right answer.  We can offer independent authoritative advice;
  • Internal investigations and reports.  In even the best run law firms things go wrong.  Responding properly to these challenges can minimise reputational and regulatory risks.  We can help you get to the bottom of what went wrong, advise how to put it right and learn lessons for the future;
  • Advice on whether a matter should be reported to the SRA and drafting notifications.  It is not always clear as to whether a matter needs to be reported to the SRA and if it does how this should be done.  We can provide independent assistance to guide you through the process;
  • Advice on the regulatory aspects of the restructuring and insolvency of law firms.  We have experience in relation to the administrations of Halliwells LLP, Dewy & LeBeouf, Manches LLP, Cobbetts LLP and Davenport Lyons;
  • Representing firms and individuals involved in SRA investigations.  Being the subject of an SRA investigation is hugely stressful.  We have extensive experience on both sides of such investigations and can help in achieving the best possible outcome;
  • Defending individuals and firms before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the High Court. The team has over 20 years’ experience and is able to support firms and individuals through the process.


Recent Work for Solicitors and Law Firms

Recent Work for Solicitors and Law Firms

Solicitors Regulation Authority v Spector [2016] EWHC 37 (Admin) - Whether it was lawful for the SDT to anonymise the name of a solicitor at the end of disciplinary proceedings.

Lumsdon and others v The Legal Services Board [2015] UKSC 41 – Challenge by the Criminal Bar Association to the implementation of the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates.

Hemming v Westminster City Council [2015] UKSC 41 - Whether the Provision of Services Regulations precluded charging for enforcement and other costs as part of an authorisation scheme.

Solicitors Regulation Authority v Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and Arslan [2016] EWHC 2862 (Admin) – Standard of Proof to be applied by the SDT in relation to proceedings where it is hearing an appeal from an SRA decision.

Advised the SRA on the regulatory aspects of the insolvency of Halliwells LLP, Dewey and LeBoeuf LLP, Cobbetts LLP, Manches LLP, Challinors and Davenport Lyons.

Acted for the Bar Standards Board in the drafting of their revised Code of Conduct, Entity Regulation Framework and application to become a Licensing Authority for Alternative Business Structures.

Solicitors and Law Firms Insights

View all


SRA Handbook: The 5 changes you need to know about

SRA Price Transparency FAQs

Is it time to re-visit Bolton?

Solicitor challenges SDT’s restrictions on practice successfully

Dealing with sexual allegations in the workplace

Brexit and practising rights for lawyers

Junior Solicitors struck off for dishonesty

SRA Handbook 2019 – Time to start preparing

Dreamvar: innovate to survive

Case analysis: admissions lead to SRA dropping a dishonesty charge

New ethical challenges surrounding gagging orders in the #MeToo era

Think before you tweet - the perils of social media for the legal profession

A useful shorthand: integrity in healthcare regulation Wingate and Evans v Solicitors Regulation Authority; SRA v Malins [2018] EWCA Civ 366

Sexual Misconduct and the Duty to Report to the SRA

SRA v Main: A distinction between upholding the law and breaking the law

No strike-off for dishonest solicitor

Legal Services Regulation in 2018 – 6 things to watch

The Business Case For Legal Ethics

#LSA10 and the future of Legal Services: Artificial Intelligence, cyber-courts, global markets and block chain

#LSA10: The Impact of Alternative Business Structures

#LSA10: Impact of the Legal Services Act on legal education

Supreme Court overrules the Ghosh test - The Implications for Professional Disciplinary Proceedings

#LSA10 10 years: The global impact of the Legal Services Act

#LSA10: The Legal Services Act and Regulatory Bloodlines

#LSA10: Reflecting on 10 years of the Legal Services Act - An Introduction

White & Case fined £250,000: Is this the shape of things to come in Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal cases?

The brave new world of price transparency and what it means for firms

Uber’s apology considered by Kingsley Napley

Press Round-Up: Regulatory and Professional Discipline July-August 2017

SRA Warning on Offensive Communications

More flexible regulation of solicitors: opportunity or threat?

How long is too long to be subject to Conditions of Practice?

The Great Repeal Bill and the regulation of law firms

What is lack of integrity?

Solicitors acting as McKenzie Friends and unbundling legal services – a cautionary tale

Let's fast-track solicitor discipline

Brexit and Law Firms

Case Summary: Appeal allowed against sanction – court states that a committee should take into account the time spent by a registrant suspended under an interim suspension order

High Court clarifies the position in relation to reliance on documents from previous investigations and/or the findings from previous investigations

Case update: High court confirms duty on Registrants to notify NMC of change of address for service of documents

Press Round-Up: Regulatory and Professional Discipline – October - November 2015

Be silent and be ignored

Case update: High Court confirms NMC panel’s original decision flawed as they failed to take into account all mitigation at sanction stage

Case update: Nurse succeeds on appeal after Court of Appeal (Scotland) find NMC panel failed to address registrant’s inadequate representation and wrongly accepted methodology put forward by NMC

Case Update: High Court hold that panel of the NMC were unduly lenient in imposing 4 month suspension for dishonest nurse

Case Update: High Court confirms that disciplinary panels should not refer to findings of fact from previous investigations which could taint the panel’s findings in relation to a registrant’s fitness to practise

Case Update: The role of the disciplinary panel when faced with insufficient evidence

Case Update: The Court of Appeal allows Regulator’s appeal and overturns High Court decision to extend the time limit for the Registrant to issue an appeal

New standards for Nurses and Midwives to comply with: the revised NMC Code

Case Update: NMC’s failure to draft charges that sufficiently reflect the gravity of Registrant’s conduct led to serious procedural irregularity

Regulatory Press Round-Up: February 2014

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