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Is Humpty Dumpty a Business Lawyer?

This is one of the wittiest summaries of legal mumbo jumbo I’ve read in years. Business Lawyers will never earn a plain English award but thank you Stuart Parker of Sirius Business Law for giving me a laugh and agreeing i could reproduce your article below:

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’

In essence this sums up outcomes-focused regulation (OFR), due on 6 October 2011. Unlike previous professional rules, this time around there are no rules, only principles, desirable outcomes and indicative behaviours.

The regulator has omitted any prescriptive indications of compliance. Instead the Solicitors Regulatory Authority has elected to trust us as professionals to review our businesses and risks, and to choose business models designed to deal with those risks to the best of our ability!

The mumbo jumbo continues with 10 Overarching Principles or are they platitudes? – You decide:

  • Uphold the rule of law and proper administration of justice
  • Act with integrity
  • Do not allow your independence to be compromised
  • Act in the best interests of each client
  • Provide a proper standard of service to clients
  • Behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services
  • Comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner
  • Run your business and carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles
  • Promote equality and diversity within your business and do not discriminate unlawfully in connection with the provision of legal services
  • Protect client money and assets

As an outsider looking in I would expect my business lawyers to be doing all of this in any event. The greatest risk as I see it is that the SRA can make up the subsequent rules as it so chooses and the outcome will be a difference of opinion but we all know who will win – the regulator.

Author: Graeme King with thanks to Stuart Parker.


Author: Chris Slay

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