Westminster Legal Policy Forum

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Next steps for legal professional ethics in the UK - Learning from Post Office Horizon inquiry | Regulatory developments | Legal firm culture and leadership | Ethical challenges and tensions for practitioners | Education and training

February 2024


Price: £150 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


This conference examined next steps for legal professional ethics and integrity in the UK.


It brought stakeholders and policymakers together to examine latest developments and challenges, including the way forward for regulation and policy, the roles and responsibilities of regulatory bodies and the legal profession itself, and how legal education may need to respond in helping embed ethical training in preparing lawyers to enter the profession.


The discussion took place amidst heightened focus on the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry, alongside further regulatory focus on these issues following the SRA’s review into the usage of NDAs by law firms, and the Legal Service Board’s Reshaping legal services: a sector-wide strategy.


We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with: Matthew Hill, Chief Executive, Legal Services Board; Sara Carnegie, Director of Legal Projects, International Bar Association; Professor Richard Moorhead, Professor of Law and Professional Ethics, University of Exeter; Professor Andrew Boon, School of Law, City, University of London; and Juliet Oliver, Deputy Chief Executive, General Counsel and Executive Director, Investigations and Enforcement, Solicitors Regulation Authority.


Overall, areas for discussion included:


  • current approaches to ethical practice: effectiveness of ethical codes, and options for development - instilling trust and appropriate transparency - assessing the new regulatory position of SLAPPs
  • priorities for legal practices in maintaining ethical standards:
    • lessons to be learned from the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry
    • assessing the parameters of the modern lawyer’s role and identifying ethical considerations for legal practitioners in providing services to clients
    • discussing how challenges for ethical practice can be addressed, including support for staff, culture and training in firms, and governance and monitoring structures
    • best practice and case studies in managing professional tensions between serving what could be seen as greater public good and the use of tools such as NDAs
  • key issues for regulation:
    • improving awareness of SRA principles regarding the use of NDAs
    • examining the positions of the Bar Council and LSB on the future direction and scope of regulation
    • how can communication, training, monitoring and compliance be improved
  • education, training and best practice:
    • integrating legal ethics into education
    • the effect of new legal training structures on legal practice
    • approaches to self-regulatory strategies and culture change - the role of those in leadership positions in legal practices
    • lessons from approaches in other sectors and jurisdictions to ethical education, governance and compliance

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the DWP; GLD; HMCTS; Home Office; Judicial Office; MOJ; and Ofcom.



This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materialfs, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda