Ex-Hammonds Suddards partner set to be referred to SRA over Hillsborough "cover-up"

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  • as a regulatory and criminal practitioner i find it staggering that thit never came out about the notebook entries, certainly during the inquest. The police officers in the case have had a number of opportunities to come clean about the cover up and for their own reasons have chosen not to (presumably when giving evidence). Hardly something which should be laid at the door of a solicitor acting on his clients instructions.

    Also the alleged breach of professional conduct seems to be the new rule inserted in the post OFR professional conduct rules and not perhaps what was in force at the time of the alleged misconduct.

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  • Re Jason's second point - the applicable rules would be the Solicitors' Practice Rules 1990. Rule 1 provided -
    A solicitor shall not do anything in the course of practising as a solicitor, or permit another person to do anything on his or her behalf, which compromises or impairs or is likely to compromise or impair any of the following:
    (a) the solicitor's independence or integrity;
    (b) a person's freedom to instruct a solicitor of his or her choice;
    (c) the solicitor's duty to act in the best interests of the client;
    (d) the good repute of the solicitor or of the solicitor’s profession;
    (e) the solicitor's proper standard of work;
    (f) the solicitor's duty to the Court.
    Not radically different from SRA Principles 1 to 6 now.

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  • To suggest a lawyer can ever justify tampering with evidence of this nature (if that is what happened here - and that needs to be considered carefully and unemotionally) is disgraceful.

    Too many in the public sector believe that the avoidance of embarassment for them, or for their masters, is a sacred goal that transcends all. We are supposed to be one of the few factors in this country to stand up against such things.

    If the legal "profession" is to be worthy of that label, and the privileges we enjoy that go with that, we have to have the guts to show our independence when it is tough to do so, and pressures are deployed against us to cover things up, and not just when it suits our own purposes.

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  • PS My previous comment should be qualified slightly as the Solicitors Practice Rules 1988 were in force from 25 July 1988 until the 1990 Rules dated 18 July 1990, but (a) to (f) in Rule 1 were the same in each. There was a change in the opening paragraph though which I don't think is material.

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