McSparran McCormick  CSIH 7Back to News Listing
The Inner House has clarified that a extent of a solicitor's professional obligations when dealing with allegations of fraud or disreputable conduct. A firm of solicitors made a complaint of professional misconduct against another solicitor, to the effect that he had improperly accused them of complicity in fraudulent conduct in relation to the administration of an estate. The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission held that the complaint was totally without merit, on the basis that the accusation had been made by the solicitor on the instructions of his clients. The Commission therefore declined to remit the complaint to the Law Society of Scotland for investigation. The complaining solicitors appealed to the Inner House, which quashed the Commission's decision. All three judges issued opinions, and each made clear that it is not sufficient for a solicitor to take his client's assertion at face value, particularly where accusations of dishonest or discreditable conduct are concerned, and that the solicitor is required to bring independent professional judgment to bear on the question of whether there is a sufficient basis to make the allegation. Axiom's Jonathan Brown appeared for the successful appellants.