SRA Handbook

Overseas Principles

Version 21 of the Handbook was published on 6 December 2018. For more information, please click "History" above.

Rule 1: Overseas Principles

1.1

You

(a)

as a regulated individual practising overseas must ensure that you; or

(b)

as a responsible authorised body must ensure that your overseas practice, and individual managers, and members and owners of your overseas practice (who are, for the purposes of these rules, 'those for whom you are responsible');

comply with the Overseas Principles stated below.

1.2

Each of the Overseas Principles stated below, is supplemented by a note to assist individuals and bodies to determine how best to comply with each Principle. These notes do not form part of the Principles and are for guidance only.

1.3

Overseas Principle 1: You must uphold the rule of the law and the proper administration of justice in England and Wales.

Guidance note

(i)

Your obligations to clients, the court and third parties in England and Wales with whom you are dealing on behalf of your clients are unaffected by the location outside England and Wales from which you practise or by the location of your overseas practice.

1.4

Overseas Principle 2: You must act with integrity.

Guidance note

(i)

Personal integrity is central to your role as the client's trusted adviser and should characterise all of your professional dealings with clients, the court, other lawyers and the public, wherever they are being conducted. You should use your judgment when considering how best to maintain your integrity at all times and avoid any behaviour outside England and Wales which undermines your character and suitability to be an authorised person. A responsible authorised body should ensure that its overseas practices observe comparable standards.

1.5

Overseas Principle 3: You must not allow your independence or the independence of your overseas practice to be compromised.

Guidance note

(i)

"Independence" means your own independence and that of your firm and your overseas practice, and not merely your ability to give independent advice to a client. You should avoid giving control of your overseas practice to a third party beyond any local legal or regulatory ownership requirements.

1.6

Overseas Principle 4: You must act in the best interests of each client.

Guidance note

(i)

You should act in good faith and do your best for each of the clients for whom you are (or your overseas practice is) acting. In particular, you should follow the local legal or regulatory requirements of the jurisdiction in which you or your overseas practice are practising in relation to confidentiality and conflicts of interest. If no such requirements exist, you should be guided by what you consider to be the best interests of each client in the circumstances.

1.7

Overseas Principle 5: You must provide a proper standard of service to your clients/the clients of your overseas practice.

Guidance note

(i)

You should provide a proper standard of client care and work. This includes exercising competence, skill and diligence and taking into account the individual needs and circumstances of each client as well as the particular requirements and circumstances of the jurisdiction in which you are working. If your client meets the definition of a complainant under Section 128(3) of the Legal Services Act 2007 or the Legal Services Act 2007 (Legal Complaints) (Parties) Order 2010, you should inform the client who is regulating the legal services you or your overseas practice is providing to the client, what client protections are in place and whether they have the benefit of professional indemnity insurance or other indemnity.

1.8

Overseas Principle 6: You must not do anything which will or will be likely to bring into disrepute the overseas practice, yourself as a regulated individual or responsible authorised body or, by association, the legal profession in and of England and Wales.

Guidance note

(i)

This includes any behaviour which occurs within or outside your professional practice which undermines your own reputation, that of the practice within which you are a manager or solicitor employee, or the wider reputation of the legal profession in and of England and Wales.

1.9

Overseas Principle 7: You must comply with your legal and regulatory obligations in England and Wales, and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in England and Wales in an open, timely and co-operative manner and assist and not impede any authorised person or authorised body practising in England and Wales in complying with their legal and regulatory obligations and dealings with their regulators and ombudsmen.

Guidance note

(i)

As a responsible authorised body, you should ensure that you, and those for whom you are responsible, comply with all of the reporting and notification requirements that apply to you and respond promptly and substantively to communications. You should ensure that you (and those for whom you are responsible) do not cause, contribute or facilitate a failure to comply with the SRA's regulatory arrangements by any authorised person or authorised body practising in England and Wales. Regulated individuals practising overseas should assist their responsible authorised body to comply with its regulatory obligations to the SRA.

1.10

Overseas Principle 8: You must run your business/the business of your overseas practice or carry out your/their role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles.

Guidance note

(i)

As a responsible authorised body you are required to ensure that your relations with your overseas practice accord with sound governance, financial and risk management principles. You should ensure that those for whom you are responsible under these rules assist you in meeting your obligations to the SRA in relation to managing any risks that your overseas practice might pose to your operations.

1.11

Overseas Principle 9: You must run your business/the business of your overseas practice or carry out your/their role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity.

Guidance note

(i)

Every jurisdiction has its own legal, regulatory and cultural framework for equality and diversity. The SRA does not expect, or require, regulated individuals or bodies practising overseas to approach these issues as they would in England and Wales. It does, however, expect that SRA regulated individuals and bodies will do what they reasonably can to encourage equality of opportunity and respect for diversity, within the legal, regulatory and cultural context in which they are practising overseas.

1.12

Overseas Principle 10: You must protect client money and assets.

Guidance note

(i)

In addition to complying with the specific requirements in the following parts of these rules, you and those for whom you are responsible should comply with local regulatory requirements in relation to client money, documents and assets and, in any event, you should ensure that they are protected appropriately.

Print page to PDF