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The profession has just three months to prepare for the new Solicitors’ Code of Conduct, which was published today and will come into force on 1st July 2007.
The new Code was published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and replaces the existing Guide to the Professional Code of Conduct for Solicitors. It has a simplified structure of 25 rules, with non-mandatory guidance.
Chair of the SRA board, Peter Williamson, said: “We hope that solicitors and consumers will welcome the direct language and clear structure used in the Code. In the run up to the introduction it is particularly important for firms to get familiar with the changes to business management. There will be a high level of responsibility placed on principals for the effective management of their firms.”
Williamson added that the SRA is encouraging solicitors to use the Code online, which will enable them to consult a regularly updated copy of the Code.
As first reported by The Lawyer (2 October 2006), the SRA began work on the new code in January this year, with the aim of establishing the key principles of modern practice. SRA chief executive Antony Townsend told The Lawyer at the time that the board is also preparing to revamp its disciplinary powers to "make them more flexible".
The new Code of conduct is available online at www.sra.org.uk