Leading legal aid law firm Duncan Lewis has been sanctioned for breaching the rule that prohibits paying referral fees for legally aided clients. The rebuke and £2,000 fine is the most that the Solicitors Regulation Authority can do without referring the firm to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has unveiled major governance reform that it said prepares the body for the government making legal regulators entirely independent. Crucially, it said the changes would ensure that CILEx continues to be viable as a professional body without receiving any income from practising fees.
Law firms must comply with data requests even if the purpose for seeking the documents is assisting in litigation, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Overturning the High Court, Lady Justice Arden held that a data request was not invalid if made for the “collateral purpose of assisting in litigation”.
The Lord Chief Justice has outlined his “strong opposition” to a bid to allow accountants to handle tax litigation and advocacy work – and in return come under fire from the body that would regulate them. Lord Thomas described the application by the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales as “entirely premature”.
The solicitor convicted of transferring criminal property after being taken in by a charismatic conman posing as the Pope’s banker was naïve but not dishonest, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has said in explaining why it considered a £2,000 fine sufficient penalty for her misconduct.
The Legal Services Board has stepped up the pressure on the Law Society’s role as the approved regulator of solicitors by announcing a formal investigation into whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority has sufficient independence.
The Legal Services Board will next year carry out the first formal assessment of how the profession’s regulators have performed in improving diversity in their parts of the law, it has announced. Publishing its revised diversity guidance, the board said, however, that it expects to see the guidance influencing activities this year.
A former chief executive of Cheshire-based solicitors Forster Dean, who is now a leading football administrator in Northern Ireland, has been suspended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal over accounts rule breaches.
Disciplinary cases involving solicitors are now akin to High Court trials and there needs to be a major overhaul that would make the Solicitors Regulation Authority responsible for handing out all sanctions, including strike-offs, a former prosecutor has said.
The High Court has overturned a disciplinary tribunal finding against a barrister found to have pestered three women at a chambers summer party. Mrs Justice Lang said Stephen Howd’s “inappropriate, and at times offensive, behaviour was a consequence of his medical condition”, exacerbated by excessive alcohol.