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SRA to publish Competence Statement for solicitors next month after board backing

The Solicitors Regulation Authority will publish the ‘Competence Statement’ for solicitors early next month after the regulator’s board this week approved the document.

The Competence Statement sets out the standards expected of solicitors at the point of qualification and the steps they need to take to maintain these standards.

It has three sections:

  • The Competence Statement itself;
  • The Statement of Knowledge;
  • The Threshold Standard.

Board approval follows a consultation held between October 2014 and January this year. This received submissions from 72 respondents.

A proposal will now be submitted to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to amend the notes under Principle 5 of the SRA Principles.

“This will make it clear that, for a solicitor, meeting the competences set out in the Competence Statement is one requirement of adhering to Principle 5, which states ‘you must provide a proper standard of service to your clients’,” the regulator said.

The SRA said a consultation on the assessment framework for the Competence Statement would take place later this year, although it added that it was already engaging with stakeholders on the issue.

Martin Coleman, Chair of the SRA's Education and Training Committee, said: "The Competence Statement gives important guidance to solicitors on the standards they are expected to meet. This is for work we are now undertaking on the competencies we expect of would-be solicitors, and also to ensure continuing competence following the abolition of the mandatory continuing professional development hours requirement.”