Although the events leading to the case The Solicitors Regulation Authority v. Malins [2018] EWCA Civ 366, are hopefully few and far between (a solicitor created a back-dated N251 notice of funding and e-mail in an attempt to cover up an error), the Court’s judgment is significant when considering the standards expected of professionals, including solicitors. Malins had challenged the result of a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, on the grounds that the Tribunal had made findings of dishonesty in relation to charges where it was not specifically alleged (although it had been alleged that he had acted without Integrity). The Appeal was heard by Mr Justice Mostyn who found that it was impossible to separate the concepts of dishonesty and acting without integrity. Where dishonesty could not be proven the SRA could not side step the issue by alleging lack of integrity instead. Mr Justice Mostyn allowed the appeal and remitted the matter back to the tribunal for consideration.

 

The SRA appealed this decision. Giving the Court of Appeal’s unanimous judgment, Lord Justice Jackson held that there was a distinction between the two concepts and that integrity was broader than honesty, being a “useful shorthand to express the higher standards one expects from professional persons”. Furthermore, the concept of integrity encapsulated the ethical standards of a professional and the expectation that the professional will be more "scrupulous about accuracy than a member of the general public in daily discourse”.

 

 

Pete Blackmore

About The Author

Pete Blackmore

Head of Advocacy

Solicitor