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SRA – principles, not rules

The SRA has a new focus on ‘principles’ and ‘professional judgement’, as opposed to ‘rules’.   

Inevitably, a principles-based approach is more uncertain than a rules-based approach, and it is therefore more important for firms to have a recorded set of strong systems and controls which are implemented consistently across the firm.  

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Professional – update

Spare a thought for the hapless staff of the UK arm of Slater and Gordon, which has been spun off and is now wholly owned by international hedge funds (although it will continue to trade as Slater and Gordon). Certainly, it is a sad end to a saga that started with the takeover of Russell Jones & Walker in 2012. [2017] LSG 4 September 3.  

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Conflict of interest – White & Case

White & Case has been fined £250,000(!) by the SDT for conflict breaches.

Apart from the massive sums involved, the case does raise considerable concerns for practitioners.  

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Professional – update

The SRA has changed its mind and decided that it is now favouring mandatory price publishing by firms on their websites. Trials will take place (conveyancing is the most likely candidate for this). [2017] LSG 3 July 1.

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PII – SRA?

There is no doubt that many solicitors feel Leigh Day has been harshly treated by the SRA in its disastrous attempt to bring 19 charges before the SDT over the firm’s Iraqi claims.

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SIF – closes 2020!

Apparently, only one-third of all solicitors are aware that the Solicitors Indemnity Fund closes in 2020.

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Services – digital or non-digital?

We all know there are numerous EU directives on e-commerce and the ‘information society’. But, what services are subject to those provisions, and which are outside the information society (and thus subject to local rules)?

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Professional – update

Leigh Day has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the SDT (although that decision seems to have generated far less press coverage than the proceedings against them). A finding against the firm would have had serious implications for the future of public interest litigation. See [2017] LSG 19 June 4.

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Shiner – duty of candour

The striking off of Phil Shiner attracted considerable publicity. As is well known, he actively pursued legal claims against British soldiers who were alleged to have tortured and killed Iraqi civilians.

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SRA – integrity or dishonesty?

From a professional conduct point of view is there any difference between ‘dishonesty’ and a ‘lack of integrity’? In fact, the distinction is very important – traditionally, ‘dishonesty’ involves a subjective element, whereas ‘integrity’ is purely objective.

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