Question of ethics archive

Important: The guidance below was written and issued before the introduction of the SRA Handbook on 6 October 2011, and may refer to regulatory material that is no longer in effect. Although it may still be relevant, this guidance has not been rewritten in light of the wide-ranging regulatory changes implemented on 6 October 2011. Accordingly, it has been archived.

August 2009

Reverting to recognised sole practitioner status having formed a recognised body partnership

Q. I practised as an RSP (recognised sole practitioner) before entering into a recognised body partnership with a friend. This has not worked out and I wish to revert to practising as a sole practitioner. Must I reapply to become an RSP?

Your authorisation as an RSP continues until such time as your practising certificate expires or is revoked, so as long as you resume practising as a sole practitioner within the current practising year, you will not have to re-apply.

Q. We want to set up a recognised body company with an approved non-lawyer as a shareowner. Can we do this, or must he also be a manager?

A non-lawyer cannot own a share in the company without also being a manager (see rule 14.01(3)(d) of the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007). There is one minor exception which applies where:

  • the company is wholly or partly owned by a legally qualified body (LQB) (e.g. another recognised body - see Rule 24 of the Code for the definition of an LQB); and
  • the non-lawyer is a manager and owner of the LQB only - i.e. the non lawyer's ownership interest in the company is indirect, through the LQB; and
  • he is precluded from voting in relation to the company (see Rule 14.01(3)(e)).

Remuneration certificates

Q. I read that the Solicitors' Remuneration Order has been repealed. Does this mean I no longer have to include the information previously contained on my bill regarding remuneration certificates and assessment?

The Solicitors' Remuneration Order was repealed on 11 August 2009, but a new Emergency Rule came into force the same day which inserts a new Rule 2.08 into the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007. This means that prior to enforcing your costs on a bill for non contentious business, you must inform your client of their right to an assessment by the Court. This information can still be given to the client on your bill. Any issue with regard to costs raised by your client should be treated and dealt with under your complaints system (see Rule 2, guidance note 49A). You should also bear in mind the requirements in section 69 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (as amended by the Legal Services Act 2007) before suing on your bill.

Professional indemnity insurance renewal and requests for your Claims Summary Print

Q. I am in the process of renewing my professional indemnity insurance and am being asked by the broker to produce my Claims Summary Print. How do I obtain this?

These used to be produced by the Solicitors' Indemnity Fund, but have not been available since 2007. The SRA has contacted the Qualifying Insurers to remind them of this.