Solicitors urged to alert SRA to criminal charges
The SRA have recently urged solicitors to adhere to Part 4 of the Practising Regulations, following increasing media reports of solicitors being charged or convicted of crimes.
Headlines have recently included stories of solicitors breaking the law, with offences such as fraud, stalking and sexual assault being reported.
Part 4 of the Practising Regulations states that when a solicitor is arrested or charged with an indictable offence, they should “inform the SRA within seven days if he or she is committed to prison in civil or criminal proceedings, or is charged with or convicted of an indictable offence”.
The SRA stress that they should subsequently be informed as to the outcome of the case.
This is because conditions may need to be placed on practising certificates in some cases. This is a protective measure for the public, especially if the alleged crimes relate to possible dishonesty.
Awareness of the necessary steps in such cases was ‘central’ to the SRA’s ‘A Question of Trust’ campaign, which drew insight from both the public as well as professionals. Transparency is of prime importance in these cases, ensuring that the public maintains trust in the solicitor as well as the legal profession as a whole.