updated on 17 August 2022
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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is set to reintroduce an annual application fee of up to £40 for non-practising solicitors who want to stay on the roll. The regulator highlighted that the fee would be “as low as possible” but would not be fixed until the administrative costs of the process have been finalised. The change is due to take place in April 2023.
Non-practising solicitors used to complete an annual enrolment form and paid a fee of £20 until 2014 when the procedure was discontinued for being “seen as burdensome”. The SRA has indicated the general data protection regulation (or GDPR) and its modernised IT system, which made the process “considerably less arduous”, as two key reasons for returning to the previous system.
Given that there are more than 60,000 non-practising solicitors, a fee of £40 could raise £2.4 million for the SRA. However, the regulator says the fee is intended to cover the cost of carrying out the administration involved in the enrolment process and isn’t “intended to generate income and indeed must not do so”.
Commenting on this change, Paul Philip, the SRA’s chief executive, said: “Since we stopped the previous keeping of the roll exercise, there have been significant changes to data legislation and requirements. We now need to reintroduce a process for ensuring all data held on the roll is accurate and up to date. Importantly, we are working to make sure that costs are as low as possible and that the process is straightforward.”