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Information on letterheads, emails and websites

Last updated: 26 November 2019

You must include certain information on your letterhead, website and emails.

This practice note sets out guidance on the information that must be included.

The SRA Standards and Regulations 2019 replaced the SRA Handbook (2011) from 25 November 2019 and any references in this practice note are to the new regulations.

This practice note is relevant to all law firms authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

It’s also relevant to individual solicitors, registered European lawyers (RELs) and registered foreign lawyers (RFLs), wherever they practise.

Legal status

Practice notes are issued by the Law Society for the use and benefit of our members. They represent our view of good practice in a particular area. They’re not intended to be the only standard of good practice that solicitors can follow. You’re 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’re accurate, up to date and useful, the Law Society will not accept any legal liability in relation to them.

This practice note contains references to the Establishment of Lawyers Directive 98/5/EC (Establishment Directive) and other legislation relevant to the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union (EU).

The position in relation to the potential departure of the United Kingdom from the EU and the impact this may have on relevant legislation is yet unclear. See our information on Brexit and the SRA’s Brexit guidance for more information on this issue.

For queries or comments on this practice note, contact our Practice Advice Service.

SRA Principles

There are seven core principles which the SRA says “comprise the fundamental tenets of ethical behavior” it expects all those it regulates to uphold.

The key principles relating to the information you need to provide about you and your firm on your letterhead, website and emails are as follows:

  • Principle 2 – you act in a way that upholds the public trust and confidence in the solicitors’ profession and in the legal services provided by authorised persons
  • Principle 3 – you act with independence
  • Principle 4 – you act with honesty
  • Principle 5 – you act with integrity
  • Principle 6 – you act in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion

Terminology

Must – A specific requirement in legislation or of a principle, rule, regulation or other mandatory provision in the SRA Standards and Regulations. You must comply, unless there are specific exemptions or defences provided for in relevant legislation or the SRA Standards and Regulations.

Should – Outside of a regulatory context, good practice for most situations in the Law Society’s view. In the case of the SRA Standards and Regulations, a non-mandatory provision (such as may be set out in notes or guidance).

These may not be the only means of complying with legislative or regulatory requirements and there may be situations where the suggested route is not the best possible route to meet the needs of your client. However, if you do not follow the suggested route, you should be able to justify to oversight bodies why the alternative approach you have taken is appropriate, either for your practice, or in the particular retainer.

May – A non-exhaustive list of options for meeting your obligations or running your practice. Which option you choose is determined by the profile of the individual practice, client or retainer. You may be required to justify why this was an appropriate option to oversight bodies.

See the SRA glossary for other terms used in this practice note

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Practice Advice Service

The Practice Advice Service provides a dedicated support line for Law Society members and employees of law firms. Call us on 020 7320 5675.

> Contact the Practice Advice Service

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