Solicitors Undertakings

26 August 2021

Impact on solicitors’ undertakings given in property transactions post-Harcus Sinclair v Your Lawyers

Property analysis: Iain Miller, partner at Kingsley Napley, discusses the Supreme Court
decision in Harcus Sinclair LLP v Your Lawyers Ltd and its possible impacts on solicitors’
undertakings given in property transactions.

Iain Miller

30 July 2021

A new frontier in the boundary between professional and private life – solicitors’ undertakings

One of the hottest topics in solicitor regulation is how far the SRA’s regulatory powers reach beyond a solicitor’s professional life.   This topic has caused heated debate when dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate posts on social media.   One would expect that the world of solicitors’ undertakings would not be part of this debate.  However, the recent decision of the Supreme Court suggests that a true solicitors’ undertaking arises in relatively narrow circumstances and as such many undertakings given by solicitors fall outside their professional work and should not engage the SRA Codes of Conduct.

Iain Miller

26 July 2021

Harcus Sinclair v Your Lawyers - Another nail in the coffin of solicitors’ undertakings?

Every solicitor knows that an undertaking is serious stuff.   Arguably it is the greatest power available to a solicitor.  A promise, if broken, that will lead to immediate and serious consequences for the giver.  As such it can be relied upon to the ends of the earth.  The power of undertakings has meant that they sit at the heart of every property transaction, bridging the time gap between the sending of money and the receiving of title.  They are also used in other areas of commercial life and as part of litigation.  The “brand” of a solicitor’s undertaking is so powerful that little thought is given as to where their power comes from. 

Iain Miller

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