In the Media

'Disproportionate intervention targets BME solicitors'

PUBLISHED August 1, 2012

Wednesday 01 August 2012 by Jonathan Rayner

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) continues to target black and minority ethnic (BME) solicitors disproportionately for intervention, figures released earlier this week revealed.

BME solicitors make up 14% of the 129,780 solicitors in England and Wales. Yet, according to the SRA's diversity report for 2011, they accounted for 30% of the 76 interventions that took place in that year. This is an improvement on the figures for 2010, however, when 38% of interventions involved BME solicitors.

There was a 25% rise in the number of referrals to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, up from 311 in 2010 to 390 in 2011. Some 35% of these referrals involved BME solicitors.

An SRA spokesperson said that 60 of the 76 firms intervened into during 2011 were one and two partner firms, which is the size of firm that the SRA receives the most complaints about. He said: 'BME solicitors are known to be over-represented in firms of this size, which in large part explains the seeming bias in the way the SRA investigates and disciplines them.'