The Solicitor's Handbook 2015
Publisher: Law Society Publishing
Authors: Andrew Hopper QC & Gregory Treverton-Jones QC
Edition: 6th Edition (November 2014)
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It is fair to say that one of the biggest concerns for any practising solicitor is to make sure that they, and their firm, are compliant with the regulatory framework. If they are not, it can have significant consequences. These include the obvious ones of stopping you practising but it can also mean, for example, an assignment of a conditional fee agreement is ineffective (for a recent issue, see the County Court's recent decision in Jarrett v Tesco Stores Limited (2015) where a solicitor practising without authorisation meant the claimant's costs were significantly limited). To guide solicitors through what appears to be an impenetrable web of regulation comes the latest edition of the well-established and indispensable guide: The Solicitor's Handbook 2015.
Written by two experienced silks, one a solicitor-advocate and the other a barrister, The Solicitor's Handbook 2015 continues to be split into seven parts: overview; the Principles and the SRA Code of Conduct 2011; other rules; the regulatory system in practice; the disciplinary system in practice; the regulation of ABSs; and fraud and money laundering. Each part then includes a number of specialist chapters. There are also twenty appendices including: the SRA Principles 2011; the SRA Code of Conduct 2011; the SRA warning notices; the Money Laundering Regulations 2007; the Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules; and extracts from a number of statues including the Solicitors Act 1974, the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 and the Legal Services Act 2007.
The Solicitor's Handbook 2015 is impressively put together by two highly respected practitioners. It pulls the key materials in to one handy volume. It continues to be extremely well-balanced between commentary and appendices. This latest edition has just under 370 pages of commentary out of 716 pages; this creates a superb balance. The text also includes a wide range of examples and decisions of the SDT: this is particularly useful given the authors' collective expertise. The guidance provided is excellent meaning The Solicitor's Handbook 2015 should be a text which remains close to any lawyer responsible for compliance issues within a firm.
Given the importance of compliance and the wide ranging powers of the regulator, all firms should invest in a copy of The Solicitor's Handbook 2015. Its price, at less than £85, means it is excellent value for money and ensures practitioners have one text with a printed copy of the main provisions. It is, and remains, simply the most indispensable guide for solicitors. If you are thinking of starting your own firm, you could do worse than reading this cover to cover before making the plunge. It will be both time and money well-spent. Even those in larger firms will gain a lot by spending time to fully understand the vast amount of rules and regulation which apply to them.
Reviewed on 24 May 2015
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