Regulatory Law Advice and Professional Discipline
CM Murray LLP has been ranked as a ‘Firm to Watch’ by Legal 500 UK 2023 for professional discipline.
We advise both organisations and individuals who are the subject of regulatory investigations, with a particular emphasis on SRA investigations into solicitors, legal professionals and law firms.
We advise on issues which commonly arise in such investigations, including the application of legal professional privilege, the obligation to co-operate with the regulator and respond to requests to attend interviews and/or produce documents, and in the negotiation of regulatory settlement agreements.
We also have experience in advising individuals and law firms who are either subject to or conducting internal investigations into alleged misconduct, as to whether and when an obligation to self-report the matter to the SRA has arisen under the relevant Codes of Conduct.
We have had a number of instructions recently arising from sexual misconduct allegations, and have a particular specialism in this area, having hosted a webinar on the sexual misconduct guidance in October and written extensively about the guidance in the legal and national press. We provide partner behavioural training to law firms on both the sexual misconduct guidance and the workplace environment guidance.
We appreciate that regulatory investigations can be highly stressful, time-consuming and intrusive for both firms and individuals, and we take a calm, discrete and methodical approach to matters.
Our ability to provide regulatory advice enables us to take a multi-disciplinary approach to investigations that can occur in an employment and regulatory context, and complements the existing service we provide to our senior executive, partnership and LLP clients.
Our regulatory practice is led by Partner Andrew Pavlovic, who is recognised as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ by Legal 500 UK 2023 for professional discipline. The Legal 500 2022 notes that Andrew ‘understands that litigation and investigations can have a huge impact on mental health, so he is always cautious in how he communicates with clients’.
Andrew Pavlovic’s recent experience includes the following:
- Advising a law firm partner subject to an SRA investigation in respect of allegations of sexual misconduct. Investigation closed with no further action;
- Currently instructed by 2 partners subject to SRA investigations in respect of alleged sexual misconduct;
- Providing on-going self reporting and other advice to a law firm in respect of an SRA investigation into alleged misconduct by a partner;
- Providing partner behavioural training to law firm partners on the SRA Workplace Environment Guidance and Thematic Review and Sexual Misconduct guidance;
- Representing a veterinary surgeon accused of dishonesty and “disgraceful conduct” in a 3-day hearing before the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Disciplinary Committee;
- Advising a large commercial organisation regarding its in house legal function and whether the same in house team can advise different subsidiaries of the organisation without infringing the SRA’s rules on conflict of interest/confidentiality;
- Advising a partner at a large accountancy firm on his self-reporting obligations to the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, following the commencement of a disciplinary investigation against him in respect of alleged sexual misconduct.
- Advising an individual subject to an SRA investigation in relation to serious allegations, and negotiating a regulatory settlement agreement in which the detail of the allegations made against them were kept confidential in light of the individual’s medical condition.
- Acting for a law firm pursuant to a general retainer and advising on issues such as whether proposed retainers complied with the relevant Damages Based/Conditional Fee Agreement Regulations; the circumstances in which a lien over files could be exercised and the obligation to disclose documents to a former client’s trustee in bankruptcy.
- Acting for the SRA in lengthy and substantial proceedings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and subsequent appeals of the Tribunal’s decisions to the High Court, and conducting advocacy at Tribunal Case Management Hearings.
- Acting for the SRA in contested interventions into law firms and/or legal practices.
- Acting for the SRA in cases where injunctions have been obtained to facilitate the intervention process and/or compel the production of documents.