Posted on September 20, 2021
Fee Sharing Agreement Sra
We have no further evidence of the application of transfer fees and cost-sharing agreements with respect to the representation of criminal law interests. The LSB`s conclusion that there is no evidence that lawyers consistently place financial interests above their obligations to clients is consistent with SRA`s experience in this area. Before entering into an agreement, it is necessary to consider whether it is appropriate and reasonable for the importer to carry out work. We know that outsourcing can sometimes include advising the client on the appropriate ways to finance the case, explaining and signing a contingency fee agreement or an agreement based on damages. Remember that you have a duty to ensure that your customers receive enough information to make informed decisions about their case and how it is handled. We believe that outsourcing work of this type or trusting a third party that provides the customer with the necessary information is contrary to norms and rules. If you ensure that your company has strict policies and procedures for adopting recommendations for third-party agreements and/or royalty sharing, the SRA may prevent the SRA from investigating matters related to these practices. To ensure that you fully comply with the SRAs rules when it comes to third-party referrals and cost sharing, your business should have the following policies and procedures: The burden on you to reveal an interest is even greater if the recommendation is made on a commercial or paid basis. In this regard, the requirements set out in paragraph 5 of the Individual Code seem to go further than in the previous 2011 Code of Conduct, by requiring that a written agreement be concluded and that the customer be properly informed of any situation of sharing (or payment) of costs. Ideally, this agreement would not only cover the payment actually made, but should impose on the other person, if not a lawyer, some form of obligation to comply with the provisions of paragraph 5.1(d) and (e), namely not to receive or make payments in respect of `clients subject to criminal proceedings`, that a customer referred to you by an importer „would not be in violation of the regulations of the SRA if the person acquiring the customer were regulated by the SRA“ (more relevant to recommendations that will soon be more relevant). Indeed, companies should in particular take into account the provision that unpaid introductions into the field of criminal work (previously covered by Result O (6.4) are not allowed. We are strongly opposed to the proposal that authorised regulators should collect and publish all agreements between importers and lawyers and believe that there are more proportionate ways to achieve the desired results in this regard. We therefore urge the LSB to reconsider its proposal to require licensed regulators to publish all referral agreements and any changes to all agreements.
Such a proposal is not risk-based and would represent a burden on the limited resources of authorised regulators, which cannot be justified. The theoretical benefits sought can be achieved by more proportionate and targeted means, without the need for such an administrative and operational burden. In line with the principles of better regulation, we strongly believe that if the LSB is to intervene in this area, simple and more effective alternatives, such as those mentioned above, should instead be followed. . . .