Legal Profession: Conduct

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 2nd March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Blencathra Lord Blencathra Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to consult on the creation of a fully independent body able to investigate and to rule on the ethics, conduct and behaviour of lawyers, with the ability to bring criminal prosecutions against solicitors and barristers for breaches of the law.

Photo of Lord Blencathra Lord Blencathra Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to set up a public inquiry to investigate the ethics of lawyers.

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice)

The UK’s world leading legal services industry is based on the talent and professionalism of those who work within it.

The legal profession in England and Wales is independent from government, as are the bodies that regulate it. The Law Society is the body with statutory authority to regulate solicitors. It is required to ensure the independence of its regulatory function, which is delivered through the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.

It would be for the police to investigate any allegations of criminal conduct. If the police consider, after investigation, that there is a case to answer they will place the matter before the Crown Prosecution Service for action.

Where an issue of public concern needs investigating, the Minister may cause an inquiry to be held under the Inquiries Act 2005. There are no current plans to set up an inquiry into the ethics of lawyers.

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