The Practical Lawyer


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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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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‘The file’ – guidance

The Law Society has published new guidance on what a solicitor should do when a client requests a copy of the file. Needless to say, some documents will belong to the solicitors, and those do not need to be handed over. As a result, solicitors should not feel pressurised into handing over the whole file merely because it has been requested by the client; moreover, it should not be forgotten that the pre-action protocol for professional negligence expressly prohibits fishing expeditions (which will often be what these are).

The Law Society advice is:

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Professional indemnity – ‘aggregation’

The Supreme Court has handed down an important decision on ‘aggregation’ claims in the SRA minimum terms and conditions. In essence, the Supreme Court has emphasised that each case is fact-specific, but for claims to be aggregated it must be shown that they ‘in some way fit together’.

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Accounts – three-way reconciliation

A three-way reconciliation is a comparison between the balance of client money shown in the firm’s cashbook, the bank statements, and the matter balance listing. Most accounting software packages will compare the cashbook balance and the bank statements as part and parcel of the standard bank reconciliation, but many packages then fail to undertake the third step (ie the matter balance listing).

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