The Practical Lawyer


Professional – update

The SRA proposes that the Compensation Fund would effectively be transformed into a ‘Hardship’ Fund (ie only for those wronged clients who are most in need). 
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Witness – evidence

A trial witness must not discuss their evidence while they are under oath. The importance of this was illustrated in a recent ET case when the applicant spoke to a journalist during a break in the course of giving her evidence.
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Conduct – honesty or integrity?

To what extent are ‘honesty’ and ‘integrity’ synonymous for SRA disciplinary purposes? 
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Money laundering – update

The SRA has updated its guidance on MLR responsibilities. This new guidance is far more prescriptive of the measures that firms must take to ensure compliance.

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Professional – update

 A reminder that internal e-mails can result in SRA action; for a case involving sexist, racist and homophobic e-mails sent to a work colleague see [2018] LSG 12 February 2.

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Clients – advice warning?

To what extent should you warn a client that your advice may be wrong? The answer is that a warning should be given when there is a ‘significant risk’ about the construction or interpretation of the law.

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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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