Lawyers who mislead the court will end up with “exemplary and deterrent” punishments, the Lord Chief Justice has warned. Lord Thomas was speaking after Alastair Brett, former legal manager at Times Newspapers, had limited success in appealing an SDT ruling.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has ruled that three Italian lawyers based in London committed a host of accounting irregularities while acting for clients in overseas property deals.
The board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority will tomorrow be asked to confirm an outcomes-focused approach to implementing the referral fee ban, along with a commitment to develop guidance “as our knowledge of different schemes increases” – although this will fall short of ‘safe harbour’ advice.
Comparisons between the 2012 Olympics and the compliance officer for legal practice (COLP) nomination process are more obvious than you might think: both were years in the preparation, shrouded in mystery, beset by operational PR disasters and, ultimately, over in a flash. This month’s blog brings you live coverage of the five-month dash: that’s how long your COLP has to get the firm’s house in order before they become responsible for compliance. Like bog-snorkelling and extreme ironing, the five-month dash is a niche sport, unlikely to grace the Olympics, but pundits are predicting there’ll be a least 11,000 participants by the end of the year.
Three of the seven ABSs so far approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority have been granted waivers as part of their applications, it has emerged. It also warned applicants who may have tight timescales for approval that it will not guarantee to meet them.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has taken the highly unusual step of throwing out proceedings taken against a solicitor, finding that the actions of the Solicitors Regulation Authority constituted an abuse of process.
Governance seems to be the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s new favourite word. It crops up in the most fashionable parts of the SRA Handbook – in her latest blog on COLPs and COFAs, Allison Wooddisse, head of Legal Futures Associate LexisPSL Practice Compliance, tries to work out what the SRA means when it talks about law firms’ governance.
The board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority this week approved the third edition of the SRA Handbook since it went live last October, with a fourth one due before the end of June. The SRA said it recognised the disruption this would cause but argued that the updates have been unavoidable.
Allison Wooddisse, head of LexisPSL Practice Compliance, looks at the whether and how law firms should indemnify COLPs against adverse consequences from taking on the role. Many COLPs are feeling jumpy but an indemnity is not as straightforward as it may appear.
“Unthinking reliance” on the indicative behaviours in the Code of Conduct is not a risk-free approach to compliance, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has warned. Larger firms should also not appoint their senior or managing partners to the role of compliance office for legal practice.