The SRA is consulting on its co-operation agreements policy and associated whistleblowers’ charter. This is an issue relevant to junior lawyers and the JLD thus intends to respond. The JLD would welcome input from the local JLD groups. Please read on.
SRA consultation: co-operation agreements and whistleblowers’ charter
“We (the SRA) are considering a policy of entering into co-operation agreements, in appropriate cases, with witnesses to misconduct who may themselves have had some involvement in the wrongdoing. Typically, this would involve a witness to the misconduct in question co-operating with a wider investigation or prosecution in respect of other regulated persons. The intention is to facilitate reports of misconduct to the SRA by clearly setting out how prompt and frank reporting and co-operation by regulated persons in a wider investigation could mitigate that person’s own regulatory position. We are seeking your views on the benefits and risks and, ultimately, upon whether such a policy is desirable”.
This is particularly relevant to junior lawyers who may see poor practice but feel that they are at risk of not qualifying, or, being implicated in the bad practice if they report it or who do report it to the SRA but often to find that they receive little if any support.
The JLD response
On this basis the JLD would like to respond to this consultation and would like your input. The questions we are to answer are as follows-
- Do you feel that the SRA should develop a policy on reaching agreements with co-operating witnesses?
- Do you agree that there could be significant benefits in implementing a co-operation agreements policy? Do you feel that there are any objectives which have not been included in the policy which should be?
- Do you agree with our views as to the main risks and challenges posed by such an approach? Are there other issues which you feel should be considered?
- Do you feel that the steps proposed to minimise the risks posed by such an approach are sufficient and appropriate? Are there any other safeguards which you feel should be included, such as excluding very serious conduct from the scope of the policy?
- Do you agree with the content of the draft policy and the proposed process for dealing with such matters? Do you feel that this could be improved in any particular way?
- Do you envisage any particular section of the public or a group of stakeholders being placed at a disadvantage by the policy or the implementation of the policy? If so, do you feel that there are any steps or adjustments which can reasonably be taken to minimise any impact?
How to respond
- The draft policy can be found at http://www.sra.org.uk/sra/consultations/cooperation-agreements.page#annex1
- The consultation closes on 23 January 2013 but the JLD would welcome your feedback before then – preferably by mid December.
- Email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can reply individually or as a group – or direct to the SRA.