SRA Competency

From 1 November 2016 solicitors are no longer required to undertake 16 hours of CPD annually.

Instead, the SRA's new regime of continuing competence focuses on the regulatory requirement to 'provide a proper standard of service' (Principle 5) and requires every solicitor to:

  • Reflect on the quality of their practice by reference to the SRA competence statement; and
  • Make an annual declaration that they have considered their training needs and taken measures to maintain their competence

The SRA competence statement is available here

The competence statement is split into 4 areas:

A - Ethics, professionalism & judgement
B - Technical legal practice
C - Working with other people
D - Managing yourself & your own work

By reference to the 4 areas of the competence statement, solicitors are required to reflect on their practice and plan/identify any training needs required to maintain their competence.

All MBL programmes aimed at solicitors are coded by reference to the 4 areas of the competence statement (A to D) which is denoted underneath the course title as appropriate to assist in the planning and identification of your learning and development needs.

A. Ethics, professionalism & judgement

Act honestly and with integrity, in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements and the SRA Handbook and Code of Conduct, including

  1. Recognising ethical issues and exercising effective judgement in addressing them
  2. Understanding and applying the ethical concepts which govern their role and behaviour as a lawyer
  3. Identifying the relevant SRA principles and rules of professional conduct and following them
  4. Resisting pressure to condone, ignore or commit unethical behaviour
  5. Respecting diversity and acting fairly and inclusively

Maintain the level of competence and legal knowledge needed to practise effectively, taking into account changes in their role and/or practice context and developments in the law, including

  1. Taking responsibility for personal learning and development
  2. Reflecting on and learning from practice and learning from other people
  3. Accurately evaluating their strengths and limitations in relation to the demands of their work
  4. Maintaining an adequate and up-to-date understanding of relevant law, policy and practice
  5. Adapting practice to address developments in the delivery of legal services

Work within the limits of their competence and the supervision which they need, including

  1. Disclosing when work is beyond their personal capability
  2. Recognising when they have made mistakes or are experiencing difficulties and taking appropriate action
  3. Seeking and making effective use of feedback, guidance and support where needed
  4. Knowing when to seek expert advice

Draw on a sufficient detailed knowledge and understanding of their field(s) of work and role in order to practise effectively, including

  1. Identifying relevant legal principles
  2. Applying legal principles to factual issues, so as to produce a solution which best addresses a client's needs and reflects the client's commercial or personal circumstances
  3. Spotting issues that are outside their expertise and taking appropriate action, using both an awareness of a broad base of legal knowledge (insofar as relevant to their practice area) and detailed knowledge of their practice area

Apply understanding, critical thinking and analysis to solve problems, including

  1. Assessing information to identify key issues and risks
  2. Recognising inconsistencies and gaps in information
  3. Evaluating the quality and reliability of information
  4. Using multiple sources of information to make effective judgements
  5. Reaching reasoned decisions supported by relevant evidence

Section image

B. Technical legal practice

Obtain relevant facts, including

  1. Obtaining relevant information through effective use of questioning and active listening
  2. Finding, analysing and assessing documents to extract relevant information
  3. Recognising when additional information is needed
  4. Interpreting and evaluating information obtained
  5. Recording and presenting information accurately and clearly

Undertake legal research, including

  1. Recognising when legal research is required
  2. Using appropriate methods and resources to undertake the research
  3. Identifying, finding and assessing the relevance of sources of law
  4. Interpreting, evaluating and applying the results of the research
  5. Recording and presenting the findings accurately and clearly

Develop and advise on relevant options, strategies and solutions, including

  1. Understanding and assessing a client's commercial and personal circumstances, their needs, objectives, priorities and constraints
  2. Ensuring that advice is informed by appropriate legal and factual analysis and identifies the consequences of different options

Draft documents which are legally effective and accurately reflect the client's instructions, including

  1. Being able to draft documents from scratch as well as making appropriate use of precedents
  2. Addressing all relevant legal and factual issues
  3. Complying with appropriate formalities
  4. Using clear, accurate and succinct language

Undertake effective spoken and written advocacy, including

  1. Preparing effectively by identifying and mastering relevant facts and legal principles
  2. Organising facts to support the argument or position
  3. Presenting a reasoned argument in a clear, logical, succinct and persuasive way
  4. Making appropriate reference to legal authority
  5. Complying with formalities
  6. Dealing with witnesses appropriately
  7. Responding effectively to questions or opposing arguments
  8. Identifying strengths and weaknesses from different parties' perspectives

Negotiate solutions to clients' issues, including

  1. Identifying all parties’ interests, objectives and limits
  2. Developing and formulating best options for meeting parties' objectives
  3. Presenting options for compromise persuasively
  4. Responding to options presented by the other side
  5. Developing compromises between options or parties

Negotiate solutions to clients' issues, including

  1. Applying relevant processes and procedures to progress the matter effectively
  2. Assessing, communicating and managing risk
  3. Bringing the transaction or case to a conclusion

C. Working with other people

Communicate clearly and effectively, orally and in writing, including

  1. Ensuring that communication achieves its intended objective
  2. Responding to and addressing individual characteristics effectively and sensitively
  3. Using the most appropriate method and style of communication for the situation and the recipient(s)
  4. Using clear, succinct and accurate language avoiding unnecessary technical terms
  5. Using formalities appropriate to the context and purpose of the communication
  6. Maintaining the confidentiality and security of communications
  7. Imparting any difficult or unwelcome news clearly and sensitively

Establish and maintain effective and professional relations with clients, including

  1. Treating clients with courtesy and respect
  2. Providing information in a way that clients can understand, taking into account their personal circumstances and any particular vulnerability
  3. Understanding and responding effectively to clients’ particular needs, objectives, priorities and constraints
  4. Identifying and taking reasonable steps to meet the particular service needs of all clients including those in vulnerable circumstances
  5. Identifying possible courses of action and their consequences and assisting clients in reaching a decision
  6. Managing clients’ expectations regarding options, the range of possible outcomes, risk and timescales
  7. Agreeing the services that are being provided and a clear basis for charging
  8. Explaining the ethical framework within which the solicitor works
  9. Informing clients in a timely way of key facts and issues including risks, progress towards objectives, and costs
  10. Responding appropriately to clients' concerns and complaints

Establish and maintain effective and professional relations with other people, including

  1. Treating others with courtesy and respect
  2. Delegating tasks when appropriate to do so
  3. Supervising the work of others effectively
  4. Keeping colleagues informed of progress of work, including any risks or problems
  5. Acknowledging and engaging with others’ expertise when appropriate
  6. Being supportive of colleagues and offering advice and assistance when required
  7. Being clear about expectations
  8. Identifying, selecting and, where appropriate, managing external experts or consultants

Section image

D. Managing yourself & your own work

Initiate, plan, prioritise and manage work activities and projects to ensure that they are completed efficiently, on time and to an appropriate standard, both in relation to their own work and work that they lead or supervise, including

  1. Clarifying instructions so as to agree the scope and objectives of the work
  2. Taking into account the availability of resources in initiating work activities
  3. Meeting timescales, resource requirements and budgets
  4. Monitoring, and keeping other people informed of, progress
  5. Dealing effectively with unforeseen circumstances
  6. Paying appropriate attention to detail

Keep, use and maintain accurate, complete and clear records, including

  1. Making effective use of information management systems (whether electronic or hard copy), including storing and retrieving information
  2. Complying with confidentiality, security, data protection and file retention and destruction requirements

Apply good business practice, including

  1. Demonstrating an adequate understanding of the commercial, organisational and financial context in which they work and their role in it
  2. Understanding the contractual basis on which legal services are provided, including where appropriate how to calculate and manage costs and bill clients
  3. Applying the rules of professional conduct to accounting and financial matters
  4. Managing available resources and using them efficiently

If you would like any more information, or if we can assist you in identifying your learning and development needs, then please get in touch with one of our team on 0161 793 0984 or by emailing information@mblseminars.com

Section image