1. Paralegals Working in Solicitors' Firms
If you work in a solicitors' firm (or for a solicitor acting in that capacity) you are working for an entity regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The SRA does not regulate paralegals directly - you will not find the equivalent of the Institute's Competency Standards or Paralegal Code of Conduct. However the SRA does operate "firm based regulation" which means it exercises jurisdiction over all staff in a regulated entity. Typically if there is a problem with a paralegal the SRA will look to sanction the relevant supervising solicitor. However it does have the power to sanction paralegals and to refer them to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. As paralegals become more senior, more recognised and are given bigger, more complex cases, they also become less able to shelter behind supervising solicitors.
2. Immigration and Asylum Advice and Assistance Work
Any paralegal doing any immigration or asylum advice or assistance work (voluntary work or paid) either needs to be registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner or work for an organisation exempted from registration. See www.oisc.gov.uk
3. Claims Related Work
Firms that are not an exempted organisation (e.g. a solicitors' firm) but who do most legally-related work in connection with claims involving: personal injury; work-related injury, disease or disability; criminal injuries compensation; Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit; employment; housing disrepair or financial products and services, first need to be registered with the Ministry of Justice under the Compensation Act 2006. The Act was meant to regulate claims management companies, but was drafted so widely that it caught paralegal law firms too. Regulated providers are required to comply with conduct rules which are explained on the Ministry of Justice Conduct of Business page (www.claimsregulation.gov.uk).
4. Financial Services Related Work
Giving most types of financial advice (including mortgage and insurance related advice) is governed by the regulatory/registration scheme established under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and run by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA regulates and supervisies members. Further information is available on their website (www.fsa.gov.uk).