SRA Consultation on Occupational Health and Wellbeing Rules – Bar Response

Proposals

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) consults on proposal to change its rules for health and well-being at work.

The proposals seek to make it clear that regulated workplaces must treat colleagues with dignity and respect, and if this does not happen, the SRA proposals would put in place additional regulatory powers to deal with businesses and individuals in order to protect customers and the public. .

He also proposes to put in place regulations that would allow him to take action if necessary if a lawyer’s health affects his fitness to practice or his ability to participate in enforcement processes.

Our point of view

“We support the principles of fair treatment of people, but oppose the need for additional regulation,” said Law Society President I. Stephanie Boyce.

While we recognize the importance of ensuring a fair and equitable workplace culture, the consultation document lacks supporting evidence, particularly regarding the harms that the SRA proposals seek to address.

The proposals risk exceeding the SRA’s regulatory obligations under the Legal Services Act 2007and will greatly expand the responsibilities of lawyers without any clarity as to:

  • why they are needed
  • how these would be handled in terms of applicability, or
  • how far can the impact go

We therefore encourage the SRA to provide more detailed proposals for our consideration.

In our view, a more appropriate and proportionate approach at this stage would be to encourage good practice and respect for SRA Principles and regulations, while working with the profession to identify specific gaps and the most appropriate ways to address them.

Next steps

The consultation closed on May 27, 2022.

We offered to work with the SRA on this issue. We engage with:

  • lawyers involved in regulatory work who have an in-depth knowledge of the issues raised by the SRA, and
  • the Disabled Lawyers Division, which must be involved in any proposal that concerns them

Read the consultation on the SRA website