According to new SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) proposals, whistleblowers, involved in misconduct will face lighter penalties.
A consultation on the introduction of co-operation agreements has been launched today by the SRA. According to those legal agreements, solicitors, who might have been involved in misconduct, but report others` misconduct and help the investigation, will face lenient sanctions. This consultation will run until the 23rd of January.
The SRA intends to enter co-operation agreements not only with solicitors, but also witnesses, who may be facing regulatory difficulties. They will be required to disclose and report anything they know and even witness in court, if necessary. In return, their own conduct will be dealt as defined in the agreement.
The SRA plans, aiming to encourage people to disclose to the SRA , follow the example given by Financial Services Authority and their leniency scheme, which increased almost twice the calls to its whistleblowing line.
SRA director for legal and enforcement David Middleton said: ‘We anticipate cases in which potential witnesses who are worried about their own position will be more likely to come forward if there is potential certainty of regulatory outcome for them and an element of leniency consistent with the public interest.’
In addition Middleton said ‘Respondents to investigations are already aware that the early correction of problems and co-operating generally with us can significantly mitigate any failures on their part. ‘Earlier identification of problems could reduce the impact on clients and the compensation fund or insurers, so co-operation agreements would be another step forward in encouraging disclosure and co-operation.’
This aimed to underline that the proposed approach did not “water down” the requirements of the regulated community to report misconduct,
Whistleblowing can be useful for your business as well, please have a look at our Whitleblowing Policy.