The SDT case of Howell Jones LLP (11846-2018 – see for a link) has caused some consternation.  The firm was fined £5,000 with £26,850 costs.  This was an agreed outcome, but the SDT satisfied themselves that the admissions were properly made.  The firm had made a mistake, explained to the client what had happened and informed him that he could seek separate advice, but had not ensured that he did so.  With the client’s agreement, and on advice from counsel that it may be possible to remedy the mistake, the firm carried on acting in an attempt to remedy the problem but this was unsuccessful.  There are cases where it may be in the client’s interests for the same firm to continue acting (see for example Hartley v Birmingham City Council [1992] 1 WLR 968), and there may be cases where a minor slip can readily be fixed.  Space does not permit a more detailed discussion, but it is interesting to note that the forthcoming SRA Code of Conduct contains the following requirement: ‘7.9 You are honest and open with clients if things go wrong, and if a client suffers loss or harm as a result you put matters right (if possible) [our emphasis] and explain fully and promptly what has happened and the likely impact…’

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