What is it?
If solicitors act without independence or integrity it can damage public confidence in legal services and the rule of law.
Why is it important?
The independence and integrity of legal advice is central to the rule of law. If solicitors act without independence or integrity, it can damage public confidence in legal services and the rule of law.
The SRA have highlighted the following:
- Personal injury work – in particular cold calling, entering into referral agreements, taking instructions from third parties and bring claims without the client’s authority.
- Corporate law – in particular corporate clients who try to impose terms on the firm such as ‘no sue’ clause where the client intends to give the firm work but restrict the ability of opposing litigants to find representation.
What does the COLP/COFA need to be mindful of?
- Ensure that all staff are aware that professional obligations may require them to decline a client’s request/go against their wishes. Staff should refer any issue to the COLP.
- In litigation – remember you owe a duty to the Court, the third party, and the public, as well as to your client. To read more about how to balance these duties – https://www.sra.org.uk/risk/resources/balancing-duties-litigation.page
- Remember every solicitor has a responsibility to act with integrity and independence…not just the COLP!
By Lisa Charles