The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) Assessment of Character and Suitability Rules are used when anyone applies for admission or restoration to the roll of solicitors. The SRA character and suitability rules also apply to anyone who seeks to become a Registered European Lawyer, or Registered Foreign Lawyer.
At Saunders Law, our SRA solicitors in London have extensive expertise and experience in supporting applications for SRA Character and Suitability Tests, as well as any appeals that need to be filed following a rejection.
The criteria set out in SRA Character and Suitability Tests are strict, which highlights the importance of having a carefully drafted application that provides full disclosure of any relevant issues, such as your financial history and any standard criminal records issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Our SRA character and suitability test solicitors can advise on various matters, including:
- SRA character and suitability tests
- Early assessment of character and suitability
- Appealing SRA character and suitability test decisions
Operating from offices in the City of London, our Regulatory and Crime Team have a wide range of expertise in various other relevant issues, including solicitor misconduct allegations, SRA prosecutions and Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) representation.
Find out more about the firm, its teams, and its typical work by taking a look at our clients.
Speak to our SRA Character and Suitability solicitors in London
For expert assistance with SRA Character and Suitability Tests, or any associated matter, contact Saunders Law today for a free, no obligation initial discussion of how we may be able to help.
Why work with our SRA Character and Suitability solicitors?
Our partner-led team have a wealth of combined expertise and experience in handling matters involving the SRA Character and Suitability Test (formerly known as the SRA Suitability Test). As such, we are well-positioned to support you when you are looking to apply to the roll of solicitors and are required to make an application, or you want to challenge a decision made during an original appeal.
James Saunders (a member of the Solicitors Assistance Scheme) is regarded as an expert in this field, with a catalogue of successful cases under his belt.
Commercially minded approach to match our client’s priorities
No matter what your circumstances are, and what your existing comprehension of the SRA Assessment of Character and Suitability Rules may be, we can work alongside you to plan out a carefully tailored strategy that is closely aligned with your priorities and what you are looking to achieve.
Exceptional personal service & client satisfaction
We always take pride in the high level of personal service we provide to all of our clients. You will always receive a call back in the same day following any enquiries and you will be able to speak to one of our partners when required. This allows us to achieve consistently excellent feedback from all of our clients.
Transparent and flexible pricing
We straightforward and transparent advice regarding any of the costs involved in making an SRA Character and Suitability Test application. Various funding options will always be available to suit a wide range of circumstances and we have established excellent relationships with other third parties – including litigation funding providers.
How we can support with SRA Character and Suitability Tests
SRA Character and Suitability Tests
SRA Character and Suitability Tests are stringent, highlighting how important it is to complete an application in a timely and accurate manner. Any mistakes in the application or a failure to disclose certain information could result in the application being rejected.
When considering a Character and Suitability Test, the SRA will take into account the following:
- The need to protect the public and the public interest.
- The need to maintain public trust in the solicitors’ profession and in legal services which are provided by authorised persons.
The SRA will therefore assess matters on a case-by-case basis and will be very thorough in using the criteria set out in their Character and Suitability Rules.
Our team can work with you to prepare a comprehensive application, ensuring you fully understand the questions set out in the application and know exactly how to respond.
It is important to be completely transparent and to make a full disclosure. The SRA can choose to oppose an application on the grounds that a full disclosure has not been made. This will always be the case where the SRA assert that the failure to make a disclosure was deliberate and dishonest.
Early Assessment of Character and Suitability
Under normal circumstances, an individual does not normally apply for an SRA Assessment of Character and Suitability until the end of their training contract.
However, a law student or trainee can apply for what is known as an SRA early Assessment of Character and Suitability under Regulation 5.2 of the SRA Authorisation of Individuals Regulations 2019.
This can help to prevent any prospective solicitors from being refused after they have already completed their full training journey, having invested substantial time, money, and effort.
If you have any concerns about issues that may affect the SRA’s assessment or registration, it is possible to apply for an early assessment. This is something our solicitors will be able to support you with when instructed.
Appealing SRA Character and Suitability Test decisions
If the SRA wishes to oppose an application on the grounds that a full disclosure has not been made (or for any other reason), they will file a report to an adjudicator, recommending that an application should be refused.
At this stage, if your application has been refused, you will have the option to respond to the report and appeal the decision.
As you might expect, this is a critical step and any appeals need to be prepared as carefully as possible. Once received, the adjudicator will decide whether there is an internal right of appeal to an Adjudication panel. In some cases, there will also be a further right of appeal to the High Court.
In every case, our solicitors can work alongside you to build the strongest possible case, helping to clearly establish why your application to the roll would not be in breach of any SRA guidelines, and compiling all of the necessary evidence to support this.
Frequently asked questions about SRA Character and Suitability Tests
What are the SRA Character and Suitability requirements?
The SRA Character and Suitability requirements will apply where the SRA is making a decision in relation to:
- An admission or restoration to the roll of solicitors
- Approval as an authorised role holder
- Registration or renewal of registration as an REL or RFL
When considering Character and Suitability, the following apply:
- The need to protect the public and the public interest
- The need to maintain public trust and confidence
If you are applying for approval as a compliance officer, the SRA will also consider whether you are of sufficient seniority and in a position of sufficient responsibility to fulfil the requirements of the role.
What do you have to disclose to the SRA?
SRA Assessment of Character and Suitability Rules explain that the following will need to be disclosed:
- Criminal conduct
- Behaviour which has a bearing on your integrity and independence
- Education assessment offences
- Financial conduct and events
- Regulatory or disciplinary findings
- Health conditions
If you have a health condition and you are not sure whether or not it needs to be reported, contact our Regulatory and Crime Team for advice and guidance.
What background checks do the SRA do?
Background and screening checks are carried out by Atlantic Data for anyone going through the process of applying to the roll of solicitors. The following checks will be completed:
- Financial, covering bankruptcy, insolvency and county court judgments
- Standard criminal records check issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
If you have lived outside the UK continuously for more than 12 months in the past five years you will also need an overseas criminal record check.
How long does the SRA Character and Suitability assessment take?
The SRA indicate that they aim to decide on an application ‘within six months’. That said, once they have all the information they need to make a decision, they will usually decide in a much shorter period of time.
An application can be withdrawn at any stage before a decision is reached by the SRA.
If you fail to submit the relevant information within the time limits provided by the SRA, the application is likely to be refused.
If refused, you will have 28 days to apply for a review of the decision.
Speak to our SRA character and suitability solicitors in London
For expert assistance with SRA Character and Suitability Tests, or any associated matter, contact our Regulatory and Crime Team today for a free, no obligation initial discussion of how our professional regulatory solicitors may be able to help.
Call us on 0207 632 4300 or make an enquiry online.