Category Archives: Thought leadership

SRA Handbook update – Launch of new SRA Standards and Regulations moved to November 2019

Ruth Cohen, VinciWorks' Legal and Research Executive
Ruth Cohen, VinciWorks’ Legal and Research Executive

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has confirmed that the new SRA Standards and Regulations will now come into effect on 25 November 2019.

The key changes being introduced include:

  • Creating separate codes of conduct for firms and solicitors
  • Simpler Account Rules that focus on the principles of keeping client money safe, rather than lots of specific technical rules
  • Freeing up solicitors to carry out ‘non-reserved’ legal work from within a business not regulated by a legal services regulator
  • Allowing solicitors to provide reserved legal services on a freelance basis.
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SRA Standards and Regulations training – new course to be released soon

Central London

The SRA Handbook is being replaced by the SRA Standards and Regulations, which will be in force from November 2019.

The new focus of the SRA Standards and Regulations is on each legal professional being able to justify their actions in all work that they carry out. For many legal professionals, including partners, managers, solicitors and support staff, this will require a significant change in approach. Legal professionals often only consider their professional obligations when a conflict of interest arises. However, the new SRA Standards and Regulations emphasise that legal professionals must be able to demonstrate compliance at all times.

Our scenario based course, SRA: Standards and Regulations, is customisable as-standard and includes a unique course builder, ensuring relevant training is delivered to each user based on their role within the firm.

The course will help legal professionals, including support staff, to develop an understanding of the relevant SRA regulations which apply to their specific role in the law firm. The course ensures that all employees of an SRA regulated law firm who have a legal obligation to follow the SRA Standards and Regulations have sufficient knowledge to stay compliant.

Register for SRA training updates and get a discount code

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GDPR Compliance Myth #7: Huge GDPR fines never really happen

As a year since the introduction of GDPR approaches, VinciWorks revisits our popular GDPR mythbusters series to separate the data protection facts from fiction.

Just six minutes after GDPR came into force on 25 May, 2018, two European advocacy groups, Quadrature du Net and None Of Your Business (NOYB), filed complaints against search giant Google. Similar complaints were also levied against the titans of the internet age: Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. These actions were not confined to just one jurisdiction. The white knights of data protection made their mark in the halls of national regulators in Paris, Vienna, Brussels and Berlin.

The complaint? Nothing greater than the default advertising settings that come when signing up for a standard Google account. Users must agree for their personal data to be used in order to show them personalised adverts, and Google requires people to agree to those terms and conditions via pre-ticked boxes in what NYOB calls “forced consent.”

Register for our webinar – GDPR Mythbusters

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Upcoming webinar: GDPR Mythbusters 2019 – Are you compliant?

Wednesday 10 April, 12pm

As we approach a year since GDPR came into force, we will re-visit our popular GDPR Mythbusters series with a new round of questions and answers about data protection. Join us for a new webinar where our GDPR experts will tackle questions such as:

  • Are huge GDPR fines a myth?
  • Does anyone actually care about GDPR compliance?
  • Does enforcement really go beyond EU borders?
  • Does GDPR apply to me if I’m not based in the UK?
  • Does GDPR require me to appoint a DPO?

Register now

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VinciWorks’ 2019 course release schedule

Following a successful 2018 that saw over 420,000 course completions, we are excited to present our tentative plan for our new course releases and updates planned for 2019. Every year, VinciWorks plans its course schedule based on a combination of client feedback and prevalent compliance issues. Based on this, we are planning to release training on the SRA Standards and Regulations, DAC6, GDPR, cyber security and more. VinciWorks has also added several US-focussed compliance courses.

Note: this is a tentative schedule and is subject to change as we continuously review the compliance training needs of our clients.

Released courses

Competition Law

Screenshot of competition module in competition law training

Organisations have a responsibility and a legal obligation to comply with competition law and ensure staff have proper training on the topic. Competition Law: Know Your Market drops users into a set of immersive scenarios that test their knowledge, understanding and ability to comply with the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002.

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International Women’s Day 2019 – real stories collected from our training

International Women's Day banner

Friday 8 March 2019 is International Women’s Day. Over the years the day has increased in significance as reports of harassment against women and workplace inequality continue to headline the news. Over the past 12 months, VinciWorks has collected accounts of people who have experienced or been witness to harassment or workplace inequality. The stories have been shared via our anti-harassment training with the full consent of the author, with their real name replaced to protect them.

Sarah’s story

It started in the interview. He asked if I was married, then if I had a boyfriend, then he just kind of smiled. The day after I started, he came over to me and sat on my desk, asked me how things were going, and that if I needed anything I could always ask. He said, ‘I’ve got my eye on you.’

Then the text messages started. ‘How was your day? What are you doing at the weekend?’ At 10pm, 11pm, after midnight even. One night I just ignored him and came in early to avoid seeing him in the carpark. But he was there waiting for me at my desk. Eventually I asked someone why he was doing this. She just shrugged and warned me that if I wanted to stay, I better not ignore him.

It really wore me down, the constant messages. I became afraid of my phone in case he would send something, afraid to look and see who it was. I did talk to HR, but they told me to ignore it. I specifically remember they said to me: ‘so you want every man who winks at a women to be afraid of the lawyers?’ As if his behaviour is my fault. Like I’m the one who has to respect his right to treat me like less than a human. And it’s not like this is happening on the street from a random stranger, this is someone who can decide on my career advancement, my salary, who can fire me.

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Estate agents hit with surprise HMRC inspections

UK estate agents were hit last week with surprise HMRC inspections as part of a week-long crackdown on money laundering in the property industry.

HMRC paid surprise visits to estate agents after they were suspected of trading without being registered as required under money laundering regulations. In all, agents in London (35), Leicester (5), South Bucks and Berkshire (4), Greater Manchester (3), Watford (1), Wakefield (1) and Wolverhampton (1) were raided in order to determine their compliance with money laundering regulations of 2017.

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DAC6: Will you need to report?

The EU has introduced a new law that imposes mandatory disclosure requirements for certain cross-border transactions. Known as DAC6, the law requires intermediaries to report cross-border tax planning arrangements which involve at least one EU Member State, where the transaction falls into a number of hallmarks. This means businesses will be required to:

  • Monitor cross-border arrangements
  • Assess reportability of arrangements
  • Identify correct tax authority
  • Report arrangements to local tax authority

As the August 2020 reporting deadline approaches, we’re seeing varying degrees of awareness and compliance among firms and intermediaries.

Since most cross-border arrangements have potential tax implications, how are you assessing which ones will require reporting? Are you proactively documenting every single cross-border deal just to be safe? Some firms are requiring lawyers to indicate DAC6 relevant transactions when they open a case file. Others are wondering which deals are relevant, while some are just learning about the reporting requirements.

VinciWorks has designed a DAC6 risk assessment to help intermediaries understand the risk exposure of their cross-border transactions.

Take the DAC6 risk assessment

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Your guide to DAC6

DAC6 guide cover

On 25 May 2018, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council of the European Union (ECOFIN) adopted the 6th Directive on Administrative Cooperation (the “Directive”), requiring so-called tax intermediaries to report certain cross-border arrangements that contain at least one of the hallmarks as defined in the Directive. The new EU rules which aim to clamp down on aggressive tax planning are set to impose a huge compliance burden on taxpayers and their advisers, potentially even in circumstances where there is no tax benefit at all.

VinciWorks has published a guide to help businesses better understand DAC6.

The guide covers:

  • The purpose and scope to the Directive
  • Who the Directive applies to and which transactions must be reported
  • The hallmarks that must be met in order to require reporting and an explanation of relevant terms relating to each hallmark
  • Guidance on preparation for DAC6
  • Advice and tools for reporting cross-border arrangements
Fill out my online form.

New SRA Standards and Regulations are set to come into force in Summer 2019. How can you prepare?

Ruth Cohen, VinciWorks' Legal and Research Executive
Ruth Cohen, VinciWorks’ Legal and Research Executive

Last month, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) released their Schedule of the SRA Standards and Regulations including their final draft of the Rules. While the initial set of Standards and Regulations were approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB) back in November 2018, the SRA now have made a few further amendments which have resulted in a delay in their release to Summer 2019.

Last month, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) released their Schedule of the SRA Standards and Regulations including their final draft of the Rules. While the initial set of Standards and Regulations were approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB) back in November 2018, the SRA now have made a few further amendments which have resulted in a delay in their release to Summer 2019.

Note: On 20 March 2019 the SRA announced that the changes will come into affect in November 2019. VinciWorks will continue to post updates on the SRA Handbook reforms and will be releasing a course, SRA: Standards and Regulations, soon. 

The aim of the new SRA Standards and Regulations is to place greater trust in the professional judgement of solicitors and other legal professionals. The current SRA Handbook, in its 21st version, will be replaced by the new SRA Standards and Regulations.

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