SRA Qualifies Further Rule 4 Interpretation

Publish date: 20/01/2016

Crispin Passmore highlights examples for Rule 4 interpretation at the LLG London Branch Meeting

Speaking at the LLG London Branch meeting on Wednesday, Crispin Passmore from the SRA sought to qualify previous commentary in respect of Rule 4 and the ever changing work undertaken by local government solicitors. The key is to start with the law said Passmore, but this does require some interpretation. The first question to ask should be "do I provide reserved work to the public or a section of the public? Ultimately it will be for the courts to determine one way or the other but we have to interpret it sensibly. Ask yourself, what's the level of connection between you and the person your providing a service for? Is there a prior connection?" Giving an example of a Local Authority, Health Authority, Police and Fire Authority within the same area pooling back office functions as likely to meet the requirement for a connection; Passmore contrasted this with sending out a brochure to all Fire Authorities in the country to market services. The latter was, in his opinion, likely to fall foul of Rule 4.

This is a contentious area and LLG are working to obtain further clarity. In the meanwhile wishing to avoid litigation and work collaboratively with LLG and you the membership, the SRA are keen to encourage dialogue during their 18 month timetable of regulatory reform.

If you have any questions or wish to read issues raised by other lawyers take a look at the virtual reference page at the SRA. The url is; forms.sra.org.uk/s3/srafutures . It is confidential and highlights interesting scenarios such as ALMO's and subsidiary companies. Failing that, Passmore was more than happy to be contacted directly at Crispin.passmore@sra.org.uk