The meaning of integrity

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15 August 2016

Aaron & Partners new logo 200Partner & specialist in professional practices Paul Bennett has written this article on the meaning of integrity.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Code of Conduct 2011 lists ten principles which apply to all. Principle two states, “act with integrity” but fails to define what integrity means.

A long line of cases have attempted to provide guidance including Hoodless and Blackwell v FSA [2003] UKFTT FSM007. The Financial Services and Markets Tribunal said in their judgement, “In our view ‘integrity’ connotes moral soundness, rectitude and steady adherence to an ethical code. A person lacks integrity if unable to appreciate the distinction between what is honest or dishonest by ordinary standards”.

Subsequently, in the case of the Solicitors Regulation Authority v Chan and Ors [2015] EWHC 2659 it was said, “As to want of integrity, there have been a number of decisions commenting on the import of this word as used in various regulations.

“In my view, it serves no purpose to expatiate on its meaning. Want of integrity is capable of being identified as present or not, as the case may be, by an informed tribunal or court by reference to the facts of a particular case”.

With the recent judgement of the High Court in the case of Scott v Solicitors Regulation Authority [2016] EWHC 1256, came a glimmer of hope that, finally, we would receive a definition. We were disappointed when the High Court merely said that it agrees with the approach taken in SRA v Chan and Ors.

So it seems the approach remains that integrity will be known when it is seen.

For further information and advice in relation to solicitors’ regulation, please contact our professional practices department.

Paul Bennett

Partner and professional practices and employment law

Aaron and Partners LLP

01743 453685

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