SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs


Introduction

The Code of Conduct describes the standards of professionalism that we, the SRA, and the public expect of individuals (solicitors, registered European lawyers and registered foreign lawyers) authorised by us to provide legal services.

They apply to conduct and behaviour relating to your practice, and comprise a framework for ethical and competent practice which applies irrespective of your role or the environment or organisation in which you work (subject to the Overseas Rules which apply to your practice overseas); although paragraphs 8.1 to 8.11 apply only when you are providing your services to the public or a section of the public.

You must exercise your judgement in applying these standards to the situations you are in and deciding on a course of action, bearing in mind your role and responsibilities, areas of practice, and the nature of your clients (which in an in house context will generally include your employer and may include other persons or groups within or outside your employer organisation).

You are personally accountable for compliance with this Code - and our other regulatory requirements that apply to you - and must always be prepared to justify your decisions and actions.

A serious failure to meet our standards or a serious breach of our regulatory requirements may result in our taking regulatory action against you. A failure or breach may be serious either in isolation or because it comprises a persistent or concerning pattern of behaviour. In addition to the regulatory requirements set by us in our Codes, Principles and our rules and regulations, we directly monitor and enforce the requirements relating to referral fees set out in section 56 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, and provisions relating to anti money laundering and counter terrorist financing, as set out in regulations made by the Treasury as in force from time to time.

All these requirements are underpinned by our Enforcement Strategy. That strategy explains in more detail our views about the issues we consider to be serious, and our approach to taking regulatory action in the public interest.

This introduction does not form part of the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs.

Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs

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Conflict, confidentiality and disclosure

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When you are providing services to the public or a section of the public

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Supplemental notes

Made by the SRA Board on 30 May 2018.

Made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974, section 89 of, and paragraphs 2 and 3 of Schedule 14 to, the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 and section 57(2) and (8) of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

You are reading current version in effect from 25 November 2019

Guidance

Guidance

The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds - Guidance

Guidance: To help all those we regulate understand their obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations.

Access to and disclosure of an incapacitated person's will - Guidance

Guidance: To clarify circumstances where a solicitor can disclose a copy of a client’s will to a property and financial affairs attorney.

Risk factors in immigration work - Guidance

Guidance: Common risks that solicitors and firms face when they provide immigration services.

Offering inducements to potential clients or clients - Guidance

Guidance: Understand your professional obligations and the issues you need to consider before offering inducements to existing or prospective clients.

Transparency in price and service - Guidance

Guidance: To help you understand your obligations under our Transparency Rules.

Drafting and preparation of wills - Guidance

Guidance: To highlight areas of concern and the professional obligations of those responsible for the preparation and drafting of wills.

Dealing with claims for mis sold payment protection insurance - Guidance

Guidance: To remind you of your professional duties when accepting and dealing with claims relating to mis-sold payment protection insurance.

Money laundering - Case studies

Case studies: These case studies illustrate the importance of having a consistent approach to compliance with the money laundering regulations throughout your entire firm.

Payment Protection Insurance claims - Warning notice

Warning notice: This warning notice sets out our concerns about is those we regulate acting in claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

Risk factors in personal injury claims - Warning notice

Warning notice: This warning notice reminds you of your obligations if you take personal injury referrals from third parties, work closely with them or act on their instructions.

Money laundering and terrorist financing - Warning notice

Warning notice: This Warning Notice reminds you of the warning signs of suspicious transactions.

Tax avoidance your duties - Warning notice

Warning notice: This reminds those advising clients about their tax affairs about the importance of understanding their regulatory obligations.

Putting matters right when things go wrong, and own interest conflicts - Guidance

Guidance: To outline certain key considerations for putting matters right when you identify that things have gone wrong through the fault of you or your firm.

Money laundering and terrorist financing suspicious activity reports - Warning notice

Warning notice: This Warning Notice reminds you of some of the key requirements to have in place adequate controls to prevent, detect and report money laundering and to make suspicious activity reports (SARs).

Reporting and notification obligations - Guidance

Guidance: To help you understand your reporting and notification obligations to us.

Referral fees LASPO and SRA Principles - Warning notice

Warning notice: This warning notice reminds you of your obligations if you have referral arrangements for personal injury work.

Bringing criminal proceedings - Guidance

Decision making: Understand how and when we may bring criminal proceedings against those we regulate.

How we gather evidence in our regulatory and disciplinary investigations - Guidance

Decision making: Understand how we gather evidence, the investigatory powers we have to gather evidence and how we can use those powers.

On-site investigations (inspections) - Guidance

Decision making: To help you understand how we make the decision to conduct an on-site inspection and what is expected from you.

Confidentiality of client information - Guidance

Guidance: To help you understand your obligation to keep clients’ information confidential.

Competence standard service

This guidance focuses on our approach to investigating individuals and firms when the level of competence and standard of service falls below what we would expect.

Identifying your client - Guidance

Guidance: To help you understand your obligations in respect of identifying your client.

Q&As on the ban of personal injury referral fees - Guidance

Guidance: Sets out common Q and As on the ban on referral fees in personal injury actions introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Client care letters - Guidance

Guidance: How to write and what to include in a good client care letter.

Conflicts of interest - Guidance

Guidance: To help you to understand your obligations in relation to conflicts.

The SRA's approach to equality, diversity and inclusion - Guidance

Guidance: To help you understand your obligations on equality, diversity and inclusion.

Public trust and confidence - Guidance

Guidance: To explain when you are likely to be found to have breached your obligation under Principle 2 to act in a way that upholds public trust and confidence.

Publishing complaints procedure - Guidance

Guidance: An explanation of the requirements under the Transparency Rules to publish information concerning your complaints procedure.