Committee for Standards in Public Life Standards Matter 2 consultation – Law Society response

The consultation

The Committee for Standards in Public Life’s Standards Matter 2 consultation sought views on how well the Nolan principles are being upheld in public life.

Our views on the consultation were specifically canvassed.

The committee was set up in 1994 by the then prime minister, John Major, in response to concerns about ethical standards in public.

It established the seven principles of public life (the Nolan principles) in 1995. The seven principles are:

  • selflessness
  • integrity
  • objectivity
  • accountability
  • openness
  • honesty
  • leadership

Our view

We focused our response on points informed by:

  • our knowledge of the legal sector
  • the various steps we take to promote high ethical standards amongst solicitors
  • what makes for good ethical regulation

We noted that the Nolan principles of public life closely reflect the values embedded within the seven SRA Principles set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

We expanded on the meaning of each of these principles, the importance of regulation, what professional ethics means to the profession, and what we do to support good practice.

Finally, we summarised the difficult context in which legal services are currently being delivered and how this can impact on the way professional ethics is perceived.

Our contribution to an important debate

We responded to this consultation as we believe that the high ethical standards of solicitors and the work undertaken to support these standards are relevant to this wider debate about standards in public life.

Next steps

The committee is currently hearing from witnesses. It will report in the autumn.

Read the consultation on the GOV.UK website

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