Version 16 of the Handbook was published on 1 April 2016. For more information, please click "History" above.
Chapter 8: Publicity
This chapter is about the manner in which you publicise your firm or in-house practice or any other businesses. The overriding concern is that publicity is not misleading and is sufficiently informative to ensure that clients and others can make informed choices.
In your publicity, you must comply with statutory requirements and have regard to voluntary codes.
The outcomes in this chapter show how the Principles apply in the context of publicity.
You must achieve these outcomes:
your publicity in relation to your firm or in-house practice or for any other business is accurate and not misleading, and is not likely to diminish the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services;
your publicity relating to charges is clearly expressed and identifies whether VAT and disbursements are included;
you do not make unsolicited approaches in person or by telephone to members of the public in order to publicise your firm or in-house practice or another business;
and the public have appropriate information about you, your firm and how you are regulated;
your letterhead, website and e-mails show the words "authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority" and either the firm's registered name and number if it is an LLP or company or, if the firm is a partnership or a recognised sole practice, the name under which it is licensed/authorised by the SRA and the number allocated to it by the SRA.
Acting in the following way(s) may tend to show that you have achieved these outcomes and therefore complied with the Principles:
where you conduct other regulated activities your publicity discloses the manner in which you are regulated in relation to those activities;
where your firm is an MDP, any publicity in relation to that practice makes clear which services are regulated legal services and which are not;
any publicity intended for a jurisdiction outside England and Wales complies with the Principles, voluntary codes and the rules in force in that jurisdiction concerning publicity;
where you and another business jointly market services, the nature of the services provided by each business is clear.
Acting in the following way(s) may tend to show that you have not achieved these outcomes and therefore not complied with the Principles:
approaching people in the street, at ports of entry, in hospital or at the scene of an accident; including approaching people to conduct a survey which involves collecting contact details of potential clients, or otherwise promotes your firm or in-house practice;
allowing any other person to conduct publicity for your firm or in-house practice in a way that would breach the Principles;
advertising an estimated fee which is pitched at an unrealistically low level;
describing overheads of your firm (such a normal postage, telephone calls and charges arising in respect of client due diligence under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007) as disbursements in your advertisements;
advertising an estimated or fixed fee without making it clear that additional charges may be payable, if that is the case;
using a name or description of your firm or in-house practice that includes the word "solicitor(s)" if none of the managers are solicitors;
advertising your firm or in-house practice in a way that suggests that services provided by another business are provided by your firm or in-house practice;
producing misleading information concerning the professional status of any manager or employee of your firm or in-house practice.
Outcomes 8.1 to 8.4 apply to your in-house practice unless it is clear from the context that the outcome is not relevant in your particular circumstances.