The Practical Lawyer

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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

Trustees – duty to beneficiaries
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Trustees cannot simply ignore beneficiaries’ request for information about a trust, the High Court has held. In this case, the trust property was a farm outside Cardiff. Read more...
Conveyancing searches – disbursements?
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Should electronic property searches be treated as disbursements for VAT purposes? Alternatively, are they part of the legal service provided, and so subject to VAT? Read more...
Professional – update
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
From December 2018 there will be new rules requiring firms to publish prices for conveyancing, probate, motoring offences and immigration, as well as the price for bringing ET claims.  Read more...
Service mistake – discretion?
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
To what extent do you have a duty to point out the other side’s procedural errors (as part of your obligation to comply with the ‘overriding objective’)? Read more...
Exiting the Portal – reasonable
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Insurers should be very careful about making allegations (for instance, at Stage 2 of the EL/PL Protocol), especially if they could be interpreted as allegations of ‘dishonesty’. Read more...
Airbnb – breach of lease
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
It now seems clear that an Airbnb short let will be in breach of a typical long lease. Read more...
GDPR – data rooms
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
If L is planning to sell a property subject to leases, then almost certainly a data room will be set up containing all relevant documents. Read more...
Rights of way – public
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
There are four categories of public rights of way: Read more...
Financial remedies – company assets
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
A recent ruling illustrates when a court can treat a company-owned asset as as a matrimonial asset. Read more...
GDPR – references
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
GDPR impacts on the giving of references: Read more...

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