Quick u-turn as Law Society agrees to review NDA guidance

Blacklaws: Welcomed recommendations

The Law Society has performed a rapid u-turn and agreed to review its controversial practice note on non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), it confirmed today.

Chancery Lane was initially unmoved by the view of the House of Commons women and equalities committee this week that the note “needs revisiting”.

The committee was endorsing the view of Richard Moorhead, professor of law and professional ethics at UCL and a special adviser to its inquiry, who has described the guidance as “a disappointing document that shows no ethical leadership in the field”.

In a letter to committee chair Maria Miller, Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said it would now undertake a review of the practice note “and when reviewing it will take into account the recommendations of the committee and our crucial function of acting in the public interest”.

More broadly, Ms Blacklaws welcomed the committee’s recommendations that legal aid thresholds be reviewed to assist those in need of independent legal advice in employment cases, and that the employment tribunal process be improved, including an increase in the time limits in discrimination cases, which the committee said should be six, rather than three, months.

“The committee’s recommendations and calls to government for greater clarity around whistleblowing law are also welcomed,” she continued.

“This is something that we have said needs attention and we reference the complexities of the law around whistleblowing and the public interest in our guidance to members.

“We also very much welcome the recommendation that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission be granted wider powers to enforce employers’ actions to protect workers from discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

“This relates to one of our recommendations on enforcing employment rights that we made to Matthew Taylor’s independent review into modern work practices.

“The role of solicitors in upholding the rule of law is a crucial one and depends on legal rights and obligations being validly created and effectively enforced.”

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