Regulator describes ban on fees as "unfeasible"

New measures will be introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to improve compliance with the rules on referral arrangements, under which solicitors can pay people who introduce them to clients.

In a statement the SRA said it had decided a complete ban on referral payments was not feasible.

It's board said a year-long monitoring and enforcement programme had revealed widespread infringements of the rules, but that reintroducing a ban was not the right answer.

Peter Williamson, chair of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, said: "The focus should be on education, enforcement and monitoring. We need to make sure that the rules are clear and well understood, but we will also be looking at whether there should be a new regime so that the SRA can control which solicitors can operate referrals arrangements."

Williamson said the SRA would consider the introduction of an annual reporting requirement by solicitors to monitor activity.

He added: "We are also considering 'model agreements' to help solicitors ensure that their arrangements comply with our rules, and an information campaign to help the public understand referral arrangements and make choices.

"The Board concluded that reintroducing a ban would not be justified, although that will be kept under review. We need a regime that clear and easy to enforce but with tough penalties for those who break the rules."