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Professional Defence Solicitors for the Legal Sector
If you or your firm have been accused of breaching the respective Codes of Conduct, Principles, Account Rules or other practising requirements, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) intend to visit your practice or have already intervened in the firm, our solicitors are here to help.
Our team offers expert representation to solicitors who are subject to an SRA investigation or prosecution, including appeals against decisions made at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
To speak to a solicitor about allegations made against you, or to discuss your individual or law firm’s compliance needs, call us on 0800 652 5559, or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.
If your matter is urgent, our solicitors can be reached by using our 24-hour legal helpline on 0800 804 8186.
How JMW Can Help
The SRA may conduct an investigation when they have reason to believe that a solicitor, an employed non-admitted person or firm is failing to comply with the principles and requirements set out in the SRA Handbook.
We offer robust representation at all stages of an investigation, disciplinary tribunals and appeals based on tribunal decisions. Our experts can advise on the drafting of correspondence and reports in response to allegations by the SRA where consideration is being given to a referral to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
If the situation is not handled correctly, it is very difficult for professionals to recover from the serious reputational damage this can cause. If you are being investigated on a professional level, or if the SRA questions the conduct of the firm itself, it is vital to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
Our service is focused on the concept of protecting, preventing and defending by assisting in the avoidance and solving of problems at the earliest possible stage. We have been representing fellow legal professionals for many years and understand that lawyers facing professional misconduct investigations will want to keep up to date with proceedings, which is why we arrange regular team meetings.
In suitable cases, we have the option of appointing experts from other departments at JMW, including the family, media, reputational management and employment teams, to support your case.
Professional Regulations FAQs For Solicitors
What sanctions can be imposed following an SRA investigation?
Investigations carried out by the SRA can result in a number of outcomes:
- A fine of up to £2,000
- Referral to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
- A warning and/or advice
- Restrictions on a solicitor’s practising certificate
What is a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal?
Subject to meeting particular criteria, the SRA can refer an investigation to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The function of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal is to hear applications concerning allegations of professional misconduct and breaches of the SRA rules, regulations and Code of Conduct.
Once a matter has been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and a case is certified, formal allegations will be argued. If proven, the tribunal has the power to impose a range of sanctions, including:
- Striking solicitors off the roll
- Suspending solicitors indefinitely or for a specified period
- Issuing unlimited fines
- Excluding a solicitor from Legal Aid work permanently or for a specified period
- Restoring solicitors to the roll
- Making an order for costs
Do you provide representation during criminal investigations?
If you are being criminally investigated, we have an enviable track record in defending legal professionals involved in criminal enquiries and prosecutions. We are regularly instructed to defend professionals when they are investigated by public authorities, including:
- The Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
- The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
- Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
- The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Our expertise is varied, with particular experience in cases involving serious fraud, corruption, asset recovery and bribery. We represent those who are facing allegations arising out of their legal practice, as well as those who have been accused of committing a crime independently of their job.
How do I fund my defence?
In most cases, we represent clients who are covered by their firm’s professional indemnity insurance policy. We are often asked to liaise with brokers or insurers in properly notifying relevant events and helping to define the scope of cover.
When insurance cover is not available, we usually offer fixed fees for stages within a case or for the whole case, depending upon the nature and complexity of the allegations. Our hourly rates are very competitive and the depth of our expertise enables us to offer very senior or junior staff as appropriate to your case, ensuring the most cost-effective and collaborative representation.