This practice note is the Law Society’s view of good practice in this area. It is not legal advice.
Practice notes are issued by the Law Society for the use and benefit of its members. They represent the Law Society’s view of good practice in a particular area. They are not intended to be the only standard of good practice that solicitors can follow. You are not required to follow them but doing so will make it easier to account to oversight bodies for your actions.
Practice notes are not legal advice, nor do they necessarily provide a defence to complaints of misconduct or of inadequate professional service. While care has been taken to ensure that they are accurate, up to date and useful, the Law Society will not accept any legal liability in relation to them.
For queries or comments on this practice note contact the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service.
SRA Standards and Regulations
The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) Standards and Regulations 2019 replaced the SRA Handbook (2011) from 25 November 2019. Accordingly, this practice note is relevant to all law firms and sole practitioners authorised by the SRA. It’s also relevant to individual solicitors, registered European lawyers (REL) and registered foreign lawyers (RFL), wherever they practise.
There are seven mandatory principles which apply to all those the SRA regulates and to all aspects of practice. The principles can be found in the SRA Standards and Regulations.
The principles apply to all authorised individuals (solicitors, registered European lawyers and registered foreign lawyers), authorised firms and their managers and employees. They also apply to individuals and the parts of a licensed body involved in delivering the regulated services.
Those which are particularly relevant in this context are as follows:
- uphold the constitutional principle of the rule of law and the proper administration of justice
- act with integrity
- act with independence
- comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner
- act in a way that upholds public trust and confidence in the solicitors’ profession and in the legal services provided by authorised persons
The SRA Standards and Regulations includes a Code of Conduct. The Code establishes outcomes-focused conduct requirements.
As detailed below, the sections pertaining to client confidentiality and your relationship with the court are particularly relevant when responding to financial crime investigations.