Think before emailing or posting on social media, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) warns solicitors
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has issued a guidance note to solicitors covering their communications following an increase in the number of complaints regarding inappropriate communications both in email and on social media.
Examples of the nature and content of complaints received (and which have been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal) include making offensive or pejorative comments relation to a person’s race, sexual orientation or religion; referring to women in derogatory terms and making explicit comments, making offensive or abusive comments to another firm about that firm or its client or to litigants in person.
The SRA considers that its Principles and Code of Conduct 2011 must be complied with in communications with others including acting with integrity, behaving in a way which warrants public trust in the provision of legal services and conducting business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity. These Principles apply not only to third parties outside of the firm but also in communications to colleagues within the firm. The fact that the communication was intended to be private will not excuse any conduct that is at odds with the Principles and Code of Conduct.
Whilst the Warning Notice does not form part of the SRA handbook it will be taken into regard when the SRA exercises any of its regulatory functions.
Paul Philip, SRA chief executive, said: "We expect solicitors to act at all times with integrity, including on social media and when commenting in what may seem to be a personal capacity. Public confidence in the profession is undermined by offensive or inappropriate communication and the misuse of social media can be a real problem."
Click here to find out how Brett Wilson regulatory solicitors can assist you if you are the subject of a SRA investigation.
Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.