A new frontier in the boundary between professional and private life – solicitors’ undertakings
With Christmas just around the corner, many of us will be inundated with festive events to kick off the season in style. Whilst this is an opportunity to indulge in mince pies, mulled wine and socialise with colleagues, remember that upholding the reputation of your profession remains a permanent state of affairs, and not an obligation which can be ‘relaxed’ simply because it’s Christmas.
At the end of last year, the BACP finally published its long awaited revised Professional Conduct Procedure (PCP). Having consulted on amendments to the PCP as far back as 2015, the sheer length of time it has taken to unveil the revised procedure has not gone unnoticed by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) who only renewed the BACP's accreditation on the condition that the new PCP be published before the end of 2018. The new PCP only applies to complaints received on or after 1 December 2018.
In a recently published decision of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been ordered to pay a portion of the costs incurred by Alistair Burns, the ex-chief executive of collapsed IFA Tailormade, in relation to proceedings arising from his reference of the Authority’s decision to the Upper Tribunal. The Upper Tribunal had upheld the decision of the Authority to fine and ban Mr Burns, although it had reduced level of the fine imposed.
The Court of Appeal decision in Cathal Anthony Lyons v Fox Williams LLP  EWCA Civ 2347 has provided welcome guidance on a solicitor’s duty to advise their clients on potential risks and confirms that no such duty exists in respect of matters falling outside a solicitor’s retainer.
The significant sentence handed down (4th January, 2019) to a solicitor after being found guilty of three offences of money laundering shows that law enforcement is serious about cracking down on “professional enablers”. Scott McKay was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for money laundering committed in the course of his business as a conveyancing solicitor. It is reported that his conviction related to his work in the purchase of over eighty properties bought on behalf of members of a criminal gang.
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