Solicitors undertakings under threat – what you need to know about Harcus Sinclair v Your Lawyers
Solicitors undertakings underpin a huge number legal transactions. They are relied upon heavily in the property sector.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Harcus Sinclair v Your Lawyers has undermined the power behind undertakings.
This has important implications for the profession.
In this post we look at:
- What the Supreme Court (reluctantly) decided
- How this undermines solicitors undertakings
- Can we rely on undertakings given by an incorporated firm?
- What next?
All you need to know about solicitors run-off insurance
- What is solicitors run-off insurance?
- When and how to trigger run-off cover
- How much does the run-off policy cost?
- What happens after the six year run-off period?
- Is there any way for solicitors to avoid run-off costs?
SRA diversity survey – what will you do next?
The deadline for submitting your firm’s diversity data is today.
You will then have to make a decision about whether – and how – to publish the anonymous data. The SRA expects most firms to publish diversity information on their website, with an exemption for very small firms.
But what next? Does diversity go back into the box for another couple of years, or do you use this as an opportunity to make progress?
In this post, Rachael Eyre suggests that getting everyone involved brings significant benefits.
News and Guidance
Law Society Updates
- Practice note: Alternative business structures
- Practice note: Criminal Procedure Rules 2020: solicitors’ duties
- Report: Lawtech and ethics principles – important considerations for firms implementing innovative IT
- Future Worlds project 2050 – a glimpse into the future of law
- Blog: Four models for the 21st century legal workplace – the magnet, matrix, mentor and mutual
- Guide: Renewing your firm’s professional indemnity insurance – don’t leave it late this year
- Guide: Anti-money laundering after Brexit
- Guide: Travelling to the EU on business after Brexit
- Tool: High-risk third countries for AML purposes – bookmark this!
- What’s changing: Prosecution of ‘failure to disclose’ offences – refers to disclosing suspicions of money laundering under POCA 2002
- Report: Our anti-money laundering work – confirmation that AML is still at the top of the regulatory agenda
- Report: Authorising the profession – interesting figures showing the makeup of the profession
- Report: Client protection, interventions and the compensation fund – see where your practising certificate contributions go
- Report: Education and training – how people are entering the profession (SQE will upend these figures from September 2021)
- Report: Upholding professional standards – Key themes of the report:
- Sexual harassment
- Money laundering
- Dubious investment schemes
- Health of respondents and solicitor wellbeing
- Workplace bullying and harassment
- Publishing key consumer information on law firm websites
- Acting in compensation claims
- ICO Blog: New toolkit launched to help organisations using AI to process personal data understand the associated risks and ways of complying with data protection law
- ICO Blog: Regulating through a pandemic and beyond
Thanks to everyone who attended this month’s webinar (‘SRA Accounts Rules for Non-Accountants’).
And a huge thanks to Richard Lane for leading what was a highly engaging session. We learned:
- Why we can’t solely rely on the Accounts Rules these days. Just because there is not a rule that says you can’t do something does not mean you can. The SRA is increasingly falling back on the Principles and Code of Conduct
- How subtle changes to the wording of certain rules can have big implications for the way accounts departments are run.
- Why it’s important to read the guidance on billing in advance for your costs (despite what the rule appears to say)
- That providing a banking facility, transferring costs, residual balances and correcting breaches are the high risk areas to watch
- Where to find the SRA’s expectations of the COFA (buried in guidance).
We are having an August break☺, but will be back in September to look at the implications of Beckwith and #metoo for law firms.
We are going to try a slightly different format for this topic and are inviting a panel of experts to discuss the issues. Invitations to follow – not to be missed!
- Alberto Khadra-Pozo – suspended indefinitely (but not struck off) for dishonesty in dealing with immigration cases.
- Tracey Ann Sheehan – struck off for inflating billing to secure employment. The SDT took the unusual step of warning about placing excessive pressure on billing targets.
- Matthew Smith – struck off for “recklessly” claiming Legal Aid payments for prison visits that he never made.
- Michael Thomas Cahill – struck off for forging signature on loan applications.
- Peter Ejokwoye Otto – fined £10,000 after signing client up to an unlawful DBA in divorce proceedings.
- Lucy Jane Crossman – rebuked by the SRA for breaching client confidentiality. Her unencrypted and unprotected USB drive containing over 1,000 sensitive client documents was found by a member of the public.