The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill (ECCTB) contains some new provisions (including government amendments brought forward in the Commons) to ensure legal sector regulators play a robust role in tackling economic crime. These include:
- Removing the statutory cap on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) fining powers so that it can issue unlimited fines on solicitors and firms that breach economic crime rules (clause 181).
- A new regulatory objective in section 1(1) of the Legal Services Act 2007 requiring legal sector supervisors to help promote the prevention and detection of economic crime (clause 183).
- New Information Powers for approved legal sector regulators, to require certain persons in the legal sector to provide information and produce documents in order to fulfil this new regulatory objective (powers that are in the first instance reserved for the Solicitors Regulation Authority but may be extended to other legal sector regulators by the Lord Chancellor after an application by the Legal Services Board) (clause 184).
While some legal sector regulators, including the Legal Services Board which oversees all supervisors in the legal sector, have strongly welcomed the new powers, the Law Society and Bar Council have both raised concerns about these measures. In this note, we address why we think these concerns are misplaced.
You can read the full briefing below.