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01 November 2012

New SRA agreement could loosen sanctions for whistleblowers

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has released a set of proposals that could ease the sanctions on whistleblowers who are implicated in the misconduct they are reporting.

By Megan Malloy

The SRA argues that its Co-operation Agreement could aid in receiving information and assisting in investigations.

Potential witnesses

Among the agreements is the Whistleblowers Charter, which allows the Authority to co-operate with potential witnesses who are concerned about dismissal or sanction. Under the new proposal, whistleblowers would be responsible for fully disclosing whatever details about foul play they might have, and as a result of speaking up, may experience reduced sanctions.
Many lawyers believe that, if passed, these proposals could expedite the proceedings of investigations. New rules could also lead to an increase in whistleblowing, which saw a 276 per cent increase from last year, the Financial Services Authority recently reported.

Public interest

‘We anticipate cases in which potential witnesses who are worried about their own position will be more likely to come forward if there is potential certainty of regulatory outcome for them and an element of leniency consistent with the public interest,’ said David Middleton, the SRA Director for Legal and Enforcement.

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