The Solicitors Regulation Authority has today issued guidance on how to avoid causing offence. This is in response to an increase in complaints about "inappropriate communications".
It seems like the kind of thing that should go without saying, but the SRA has warned that while the guidance "does not form part of the SRA Handbook, we will have regard to it when exercising our regulatory functions".
The comments section is the usual war of words about what is 'offensive' and whether some people are simply 'easily offended'. One observant commenter notes: "The SRA wants to reduce the size of the 'rule book' for solicitors - and then publishes a 2300 word guidance note! Is there not just a touch of irony in that?"
A spate of cases involving solicitors being penalised for their use of language in electronic media has prompted the Solicitors Regulation Authority to publish a warning over ‘offensive communications’. A 2,300-word guidance note posted on the regulator’s website today states: ’We have experienced a significant increase in the number of complaints we receive concerning inappropriate communications, specifically (but not limited to) in relation to emails and the use of social media, both inside and outside of practice.’ The warning covers communications made both inside and outside practice. It follows the fining of a solicitor earlier this month for posting anti-Semitic rants on Facebook. The SRA notice states that ’online comments posted in a personal capacity and which might be deemed offensive or inappropriate could be classed as misconduct if the poster can be identified as a solicitor’.