In-House Lawyers Risk Fines

Yellow-Road-Sign-Saying-Danger-Wrong-Way-Turn-BackThe SRA has warned in-house lawyers to remember how they deal with members of the public.

The warning comes in the light of complaints that a small number of in-house legal teams are using debt collection tactics that suggest that they are an independent law firm rather than an in-house team. There is evidence that they have also failed to deal with unrepresented ordinary members of the public in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

Richard Collins, SRA Executive Director, said: “There have been a number of complaints from members of the public that have arisen from in-house solicitors giving the impression that an external agency or firm has been instructed to take legal action, up to and including, court proceedings. We have reviewed a number of complaints and a range of letters sent by solicitors employed within financial and similar institutions to pursue debts.

“We believe attempts are being made to mislead third parties—invariably individual debtors—that their case has been referred to an independent law firm to pursue the debt, when in fact it is the in-house legal team. We believe such approaches do not meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct.”

A failure to comply with the Code could lead to fines and referral to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

To see a copy of the Warning Notice, click here

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