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Rejecting un-remunerative publicly funded criminal work

1 June 2017
This practice note is intended to assist solicitors in identifying circumstances which may warrant a refusal to undertake legal aid work and, in doing so, to ensure compliance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority's Code of Conduct.

Legal status

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 conduct.

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.

Professional conduct

The following sections of the SRA Code of Conduct are relevant to this issue:

  • Chapter 1: Client care
  • Chapter 3: Conflicts of interests
  • Chapter 5: Your client and the court
  • Chapter 7 : Management of your business

 

SRA Principles

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 also apply to solicitors or managers of authorised bodies who are practising from an office outside the UK, and to lawyer-controlled bodies practising from an office outside the UK.

Terminology

Must - A specific requirement in the Solicitor's Code of Conduct or legislation. You must comply, unless there are specific exemptions or defences provided for in the code of conduct or relevant legislation.

Should - Good practice for most situations in the Law Society's view. If you do not follow this, you must be able to justify to oversight bodies why this is appropriate, either for your practice, or in the particular retainer.

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

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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.

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