BLS PRESIDENT BRANDS SRA DECISION ON TRAINING CONTRACT SALARIES “A BACKWARD STEP FOR THE PROFESSION”
Nick Dell, President of Bristol Law Society and Partner at Pardoes, has reacted angrily to the SRA announcement that it is scrapping the minimum salary for training contracts. In a statement issued today, Nick has said that the decision is "a backward step for the profession, especially as everyone is currently concerned about the equality of opportunity for trainees from less well-off backgrounds who wish to qualify as lawyers".
Following a short limited consultation period, the board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority made the decision to change the terms of the salary at its meeting - with the change coming into effect in September 2014. The tailored solicitor minimum salary will be scrapped, but the SRA will implement a minimum salary at the main rate in the National Minimum Wage, currently set at £6.08 an hour.
Although some respondents to the consultation were in favour of this step, saying that it would open the way for smaller firms to offer training contracts, most respondents to the survey were concerned that this scrapping of the fixed minimum salary would be a retrograde step and close the profession to a wide range of candidates.
This controversy comes at a time when the SRA is struggling with its implementation of the COLP and COFA nomination process, which looks like it is being delayed still further to January 2013. Bristol Law Society has expressed its concerns over the MySRA Practising Certificate renewal procedure, which was significantly delayed and time consuming for Practitioners, while the renewal of those solicitors who wish to stay on the Roll has been further delayed.
Nick Dell has also announced that Bristol Law Society will hold regular get togethers for representatives from member firms who wish to discuss risk and compliance issues and get advice on best practice. If you are interested in this, please email the Society at firstname.lastname@example.org