This practice note expresses 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 may follow. You are not obliged to follow them, but doing so may 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.
This practice note references both the current SRA Handbook (outcomes and indicative behaviours) and new SRA Handbook (standards):
Outcome (10.3): you notify the SRA promptly of…serious failure to comply with or achieve the Principles, rules, outcomes and other requirements of the Handbook
Outcome (10.4): you report to the SRA promptly, serious misconduct by any person or firm authorised by the SRA, or any employee, manager or owner of any such firm
Outcome (10.7): you do not attempt to prevent anyone from providing information to the SRA or the Legal Ombudsman
Outcome (11.1): you do not take unfair advantage of third parties in either your professional or personal capacity
Indicative behaviour (10.11): cites, by way of example, entering into an agreement which would attempt to preclude us from investigating any actual or potential complaint or allegation of professional misconduct
Indicative behaviour (11.7): you do not to take unfair advantage of an opposing party’s lack of legal knowledge where they have not instructed a lawyer
There are 10 mandatory principles which apply to all those the SRA regulates and to all aspects of practice. The principles can be found in the SRA Handbook.
The principles apply to solicitors or managers of authorised bodies who are practising from an office outside the UK. They also apply if you are a lawyer-controlled body practising from an office outside the UK.
When drafting a non-disclosure agreement and/or confidentiality clauses in an employment law context, you should consider:
- Principle 1: uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice
- Principle 2: act with integrity
- Principle 3: act independently
- Principle 6: behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services
- Principle 7: comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner
- Principle 8: run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles