Regulatory Settlement Agreements
A Regulatory Settlement Agreement (RSA) is a solution offered by the SRA which brings a swift conclusion to an investigation and without the need for a full disciplinary hearing in front of the Solicitor’s Disciplinary Tribunal. As a result, the prospect of an RSA is tempting but also needs careful consideration.
Entering into an RSA has consequences and it may be that the consequences are correct and the right course of action is to accept the SRA’s offer to enter a Regulatory Settlement Agreement. However, this is not always the case and the right decision may be to refuse the offer of an RSA and contest the issues.
The making of the decision is important and expert guidance will prove essential for the firm or individual to make the right decision, taking into account all of the circumstances.
Law Firm Compliance
A Regulatory Settlement Agreement (RSA) can be offered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to conclude disciplinary proceedings in whole or in part.
The SRA will offer an RSA during the investigation process and will do so in circumstances where a firm or an individual agrees to the proposed sanctions or controls and may involve: –
- A rebuke
- A fine
- Restriction(s) on a practising certificate
- A control order
- An undertaking to take remedial action
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An RSA is a voluntary arrangement offered by the SRA and voluntarily entered into by a firm or individual.
All negotiation surrounding an RSA is made on a without prejudice basis to protect both the SRA and the individual or firm. This also retains confidentiality around statements or admission made through the negotiation process.
Entering into an RSA is often attractive as it will cut short an investigation and bring certainty. However, it has to be remembered that unless the SRA agrees, the Regulatory Settlement Agreement will be reported with the consequential impact of potential damage to reputation, etc.
Taking up the offer of an RSA is not always straightforward and requires careful consideration. It may well bring an end to proceedings but where allegations are defendable, the right decision may be to continue to contain them.
Refusing to accept an RSA does not always mean that the SRA will refer the matter to a Tribunal. In some cases, and through the ongoing investigation the SRA may still choose to abandon the investigation, however, in other cases, the SRA will proceed to refer the matter to the Tribunal.
It is always our advice to seek guidance at the commencement of an investigation or if you are considering or have made a report to the SRA which is likely to trigger an investigation.
Once we have understood the issues and whether a breach has occurred, we can then work with you during an investigation liaising, as necessary with the SRA on your behalf. In the event, through that process a Regulatory Settlement Agreement is offered we can offer you immediate and informed guidance on whether this is the best route for the firm or individual involved and, if not, why not.
Subject to whether or not an RSA is a correct and agreed-on path, we will then work with you and as necessary, liaise with the SRA to agree on the final terms of the Regulatory Settlement Agreement.
For more information on the work The Strategic Partner undertakes for law firms or to discuss an investigation or an offer of a Regulatory Settlement Agreement, you can call us on 0203 911 9710 email us firstname.lastname@example.org or make an online enquiry here.