The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has recently issued a warning notice in relation to communication by solicitors. The warning notice outlines the potential repercussions of commentary in both professional and personal capacities and highlights that even comments made in a personal capacity may be classified as misconduct where the maker of the comments can be identified as a solicitor.
The warning notice arises as a result of a significant increase in the number of complaints relating to solicitors concerning inappropriate or offensive language. Through the warning notice, the SRA seeks to make it clear that caution must be taken by solicitors to ensure that communication to others does not contain statements which are derogatory; harassing; hurtful; puerile; plainly inappropriate or perceived to be threatening, causing the recipient alarm or distress.
Acknowledging changes in communications generally, and communication with clients in particular, the warning notice makes specific reference to communication with clients by text message. The warning notice also places particular emphasis on communications by solicitors in their private capacity, to include re- publication/ re-tweeting of any commentary which may cause distress and/ or posting material under a pseudonym.
Whilst no warning notice of this nature has been published in this jurisdiction, the publication serves as a reminder as to the extent to which activity in a registrant’s personal life may potentially have repercussions in the regulatory sphere.
The text of the notice can be accessed here.