The new Code of Conduct came into effect 1 July 2007. Much is changed but the Solicitors' Accounts Rules, Solicitors' Indemnity Insurance Rules and rules relating to financial services remain the same. The following have been repealed: Solicitors' Practice Rules 1990, Solicitors' Publicity Code 2001, Solicitors' Introduction and Referral Code 1990, Employed Solicitors Code 1990, Solicitors' Separate Business Code 1994, Solicitors' Costs Information and Client Care Code 1999, Law Society's Code for Advocacy, Solicitors' Anti-Discrimination Rules 2004, Solicitors' Overseas Practice Rules 1990 and Solicitors' Incorporated Practice Rules 2004. The new rules also replace the conduct obligations imposed by the Guide to Professional Conduct of Solicitors (1999) and Guide Online.
Key changes include:
- Rule 1 (old Practice Rule 1) - creates core duties for solicitors (i.e. integrity, independence). These are used to measure conduct when more detailed rules are silent.
- Rule 5 (old Practice Rule 13) - sets out management and supervision of practice. More specifically, sets out responsibilities of those running a firm or in-house teams, sets minimum requirements to be qualified to supervise and sets minimum standards for supervision of client matter.
- Rule 6 - sets out provisions dealing with age discrimination, civil partnerships and paternity rights.
- Rule 11 - repeals Advocacy Code and replaces it with succinct provisions and basic duties of all advocates