The conduct and client care rules put different requirements on different types of legal workplaces. This page covers what you need to know if you work in a law practice.
Definitions and clear expectations
There are specific definitions for prohibited behaviour such as bullying, harassment (including racial and sexual harassment), and discrimination in Rule 1.2.
Policies and systems to prevent and protect from prohibited behaviour
Lawyers responsible for law practices must provide a safe environment for all employees and any other persons connected to the law practice.
Policies and systems to prevent and protect all persons from prohibited behaviour should include:
(a) A clear statement that bullying, discrimination, harassment, racial harassment, sexual harassment or violence is not accepted by the practice at any level and all employees can expect to be treated with respect.
(b) A clear and simple reporting process.
(c) Avenues of support for people affected by prohibited behaviour.
(d) Investigation of complaints.
(e) Confidentiality and privacy.
(f) Ensuring the active support of senior lawyers and managers, including modelling respectful behaviours themselves.
There are new requirements to report behaviour including bullying, discrimination, harassment, racial harassment, sexual harassment, theft or violence to the Law Society.
Law practices are required to:
Rule 11.3 requires each law practice to have a lawyer who is the “designated lawyer” for the purpose of reporting to the Law Society on both an annual basis and if there is a written warning or dismissal due to prohibited behaviour.
The designated lawyer must be in practice on their own account, such as a partner, director or sole practitioner.
You must tell the Law Society who the designated lawyer is
You must notify the Registry Team at the Law Society who your designated lawyer is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a sole practitioner or barrister sole you will be automatically recorded as being the designated lawyer.
What if my practice doesn’t nominate a designated lawyer?
In the case of a partnership, or incorporated law firm, each partner or director is individually responsible for ensuring that their practice has a designated lawyer. If a law practice does not have a designated lawyer, each partner or director will have contravened rule 11.3.
Sole practitioners and barristers sole
Sole practitioners will be required to complete the “designated lawyer” reporting requirements for their own practice.
Read the guidance for lawyers to support the implementation of the new rules: Guidance on professional standards and reporting obligations
Fact sheets: downloadable and printable
For more information please email our Regulatory team email@example.com