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Professional – update

Allegations of sexual harassment made against solicitors and those working in legal practice must be reported to the SRA. Harassment includes ‘patronising’ sexism, taunting or predatory behaviour. A solicitor who ‘engages in sexual harassment’ is likely to have breached SRA principles and the Code of Conduct (including a failure to uphold the law or to act with integrity). This guidance comes from the Law Society and is far more unequivocal than previous statements. See [2017] LSG 27 November 1.

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Professional – update

There was much publicity about the Supreme Court decision involving the professional gambler who successfully ran a ‘sting’ against Crockfords. In essence, the court decided that the issue of whether conduct is honest or dishonest is applied using an objective standard; there is no longer a requirement that the defendant must appreciate that what they have done is ‘dishonest’.

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Team moves – covenants?

To what extent can a firm protect itself against a ‘team departure’?

There will undoubtedly be duties owed to the departing partners that are set out in the partnership (or LLP) agreement. In addition there may well be fiduciary duties of good faith and fidelity implied by law. But, it is the restrictive covenants that are likely to be the main focus of attention.

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Law firm – closure

The options for a solicitor wanting to retire (or simply to give up legal practice) are: closure; sale of all or parts to another firm; internal acquisition by a solicitor; creating an ABS to enable a non-lawyer to own the business; or external parties agreeing to buy and operate the firm under its current name.

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Solicitors Journal – demise

The oldest legal journal is (or was) the Solicitors Journal.

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Professional – update

The economy may have stood still in recent years, but that has not stopped the solicitor profession growing in size: there are now 140,000 (an increase of 15,000 in the last five years!). It does seem an unsupportable growth rate [2017] LSG 23 October 1.

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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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Page 2 of 32

Most-read articles

Constructive trusts – property
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
The author gives a helpful analysis of a ruling following a claim to establish a constructive trust or proprietary estoppel in respect of a domestic property. The deceased died intestate while living... Read more...
Professional negligence – adjudication
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
The Professional Negligence Adjudication Scheme is run by the Professional Negligence Bar Association. It offers a voluntary ADR procedure, modelled on the adjudication system in construction... Read more...
Waste – L’s liability
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Ls should be aware of the environmental enforcement obligations that may be incurred as a result of T’s activities. Read more...
Part 36 – late acceptance
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
If a Part 36 offer is accepted out of time (ie outside the 21 day period) in a low value protocol case, then what are the costs consequences? In particular, does late acceptance mean a liability to... Read more...
HMOs – new rules
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
The definition of house in multiple occupation (HMO) changes on 1 October 2018. The new definition covers properties occupied by five or more people, comprising two or more separate households. Read more...
Energy efficiency – reassessment by T?
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
The Energy Efficiency (MEES) Regs mean it is no longer possible to grant new leases to properties with an EPC of F or G. Moreover, existing lettings of F and G properties will become unlawful from... Read more...
Knotweed – nuisance
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Last year, we had county court claims in Cardiff and Truro in which it was held that the encroachment of Japanese knotweed would be actionable as a ‘private nuisance’. The Cardiff cases have now... Read more...
Procedure – expert witnesses
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Expert witnesses must comply with court rules and related guidance appropriate to their area of expertise. New guidance for paediatric expert witnesses in family proceedings has now been issued. Read more...
Self-employed – or worker?
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
The Pimlico Plumbers case was seen as a victory for workers in the gig economy, with the Supreme Court looking at the reality of the relationship (rather than the legal labels attached). So, what... Read more...
Offences – mens rea
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
This was a pre-trial appeal of a ruling at a preparatory hearing. The two appellants (A) faced charges under s17 Terrorism Act 2000 of sending money overseas, or arranging to do so, knowing or having... Read more...

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