Have you received a notice of intervention or has your practice been intervened?
If you are facing an intervention this will be a very concerning and serious time for the owners of a firm, its clients and staff.
An intervention is the most extreme action the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can take and will usually only be taken when the SRA believes an intervention is necessary to protect the clients of your firm, protect clients’ money, is necessary to protect the interests of the public with the aim of stopping your firm from acting.
The SRA can invoke the intervention process when they believe there are grounds to intervene as detailed below.
Typically, the SRA will appoint an intervention agent who will attend the premises of the firm with the core tasks of identifying: -
- urgent client matters requiring immediate attention,
- the accounts system used,
- practice monies,
- client papers,
- deeds and will stores,
- archived files.
The costs of an intervention will be borne by the firm. The SRA will approve each invoice submitted by the intervention agents and they will become a debt payable by the firm.
Gaining specialist advice in the event of an intervention or notice of intervention is essential and The Strategic Partner and our legal advisors will respond quickly in view of the seriousness of the situation and the time limits to take preventative action.
The practical effect of an intervention means that you lose control of your firm and you will be referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
If you have received a notice of intervention you must contact us immediately on 0203 911 9710 and we will guide you on the initial steps to take.
If your firm expects or has received a notification of investigation or the SRA have arrived at the firm our team are available to assist you. We will work with you to understand what the issues are and help with the appropriate response to the SRA and their investigation team ensuring replies are measured and providing the appropriate documentary evidence.
Grounds for Intervention
The grounds for intervention by the SRA can be summarised as:
- The SRA is satisfied that it must intervene to protect the best interests of clients of the firm or beneficiaries of any trust of which the solicitor was or is a trustee
- They have reason to suspect dishonesty by a solicitor, employee or representative of a deceased solicitor
- There have been undue delays by a representative of a deceased solicitor
- The SRA considers that a solicitor has failed to comply with the prevailing rules (Codes of Conduct)
- A Solicitor has been made bankrupt or has made arrangements with creditors
- A Solicitor has been committed to prison
- A Sole Practitioner has become incapacitated and cannot run the firm
- A Solicitor lacks the mental capacity to act as a Solicitor (Sole Practitioner)
- A Solicitor has abandoned the firm (Sole Practitioner)
- A Solicitor has been struck off the role or has been suspended from Practice (Sole Practitioner)
- The SRA considers that a Solicitor has acted when he/she did not have a practising certificate.
- A Solicitor has failed to comply with any restrictions imposed on his/her practising certificate.
A number of these may only be appropriate to a Sole Practitioner but will certainly impact on a Partnership.
Contesting an Intervention
If you wish to content an intervention, your firm must act fast. You have 8 days from the intervention notice to make an application to the High Court for the intervention to be withdrawn.
You must also give written notice of your application to the intervention agent.
The application and the evidence required can be complex and it is recommended that an expert with the experience of managing such matters is used. Succeeding is difficult but not impossible and responding quickly is essential.
For more information about intervention or to discuss concerns you may have you can call us on 0203 911 9710, email us firstname.lastname@example.org or complete and online enquiry. If you have already received a notice of intervention, we would recommend you call us immediately rather than email.
Additional Compliance Services
For further details on each of the other compliance services we provide please click on the links below:
Codes of Conduct inc COLP & COFA
Firm and File Audits
New Law Firm and ABS Applications
Compliance Management Service
Compliance Administration Service
Professional Indemnity & Renewals
Office Manual (inc quality kitemarks)
Drafting and Documents
Training and Development
Partnership & Shareholder Agreements
Succession & Exit
Closure of a Law Firm
Data Protection & GDPR
For more information about our Regulation and Compliance service you can call us on 0203 911
9710 or you can email us at email@example.com.