The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is already keeping some firms busy with work as it bids for independence from the Law Society, has launched a review of its litigation panel amid a wider review of its own legal function.
With its current panel expiring on 30 June, the watchdog is reviewing its current roster of firms it instructs when litigated against.
The current litigation panel firms – Kingsley Napley, Simmons & Simmons, Bevan Brittan, Capsticks, Devonshires and Russell-Cooke – were appointed in June 2013. Kingsley Napley and Simmons & Simmons were new appointments to that panel, which saw the roster expand to six law firms.
A spokesperson for the SRA told Legal Business: ‘The three years will be up at the end of June. We are currently reviewing all legal functions, starting with our own, and once we’ve finished that we will review our panels.’
A spokesperson added: ‘We’re always looking to reduce the cost to the profession. It’s in our corporate strategy to be more cost effective so we are looking to run more SDT work in-house.’
At the start of this year the legal services regulator rolled over its legal panel for prosecution work, used when it requires outside support to bring misconduct cases against lawyers and law firms at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), for an extra 12 months. It has the option to extend that over again, with two rollover options still available, but is understood to have begun a full-scale review.
The regulator’s aggressive play to become independent is gathering momentum following a report by the Treasury in November, called ‘A better deal: boosting competition to bring down bills for families and firms’, that indicated the government would separate regulation from representation in the legal services market.