OUR POLICIES

Please find below a full list of Essenhigh Farrington Law’s Policies. Just click on whichever Policy you wish to view.


Essenhigh Farrington Law AML Policy

Essenhigh Farrington Law Anti-money Laundering Policy

What is money laundering?

Money laundering is the process by which the identity of ‘dirty money’ is changed so that the proceeds of crime appear to originate from a legitimate source. It is important that solicitors and their employees take steps to ensure that their services are not used by those seeking to legitimise the proceeds of crime. Solicitors must be aware that they may be involved in the money laundering process.

It is the policy of Essenhigh Farrington Law that we will take no avoidable risks and will co-operate fully with the authorities where necessary. No matter how much we want to help our client, we must not be a party to any form of dishonesty. We must be alert to the possibility that transactions on which we are instructed may involve money laundering.

The practice’s policy

Legislation (in particular the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007) has formalised our responsibilities relating to money laundering. These responsibilities are reflected in this policy.

The criminal offences

The law relating to money laundering changed in February 2003 as a result of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Amendments were introduced by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. These amendments were brought into force at various dates in 2005 and 2006. The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 came into force on 15 December 2007. There are a number of criminal offences relevant to a solicitor’s practice. The offences divide into three categories:

1.  Offences where the practice is involved in a client matter or transaction.

It is an offence: (a)  to acquire, use or possess criminal property; (b)  to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove from the UK criminal property; or (c)  to enter into or become concerned in an arrangement which facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of another person’s criminal property, in all cases where we know or suspect that this is the case.

Criminal property is defined as constituting or representing a person’s benefit from criminal conduct. Criminal conduct for these purposes means any conduct which constitutes a crime in the UK or, if undertaken abroad, would have constituted a crime if committed in the UK.

A defence is available where you disclose your knowledge or suspicion to a nominated officer (i.e. a person nominated by the practice to receive internal disclosures).

The practice’s nominated officer is Kathryn Moran. In her absence, disclosure should be made to Samantha Essenhigh.

If you have any knowledge or suspicion which requires reporting, you may initially discuss your concerns with Kathryn Moran or Samantha Essenhigh. If after such discussion you still have concerns, a formal disclosure report should be made to the nominated officer using the internal reporting form.

Note that any disclosure you make must generally be made before the prohibited act (i.e. the act of facilitation or otherwise). If you only become aware of information giving rise to knowledge or suspicion whilst committing the prohibited act (for example, you may have placed money in a client account innocently and thereafter discover information which makes you suspicious) you must make your disclosure as soon as possible after you become suspicious. If the disclosure is made after you have committed the prohibited act you will only have a defence if you can show that there was a good reason for your failure to make the disclosure before the act.

(A similar offence relating to the laundering of ‘terrorist property’ appears in the Terrorism Act 2000.)

A formal disclosure report should be made to the nominated officer using the internal reporting form located at the end of this document.

2.  Offences following a disclosure report made to the practice’s nominated officer.

It is an offence to disclose to any person (including our client) that a report has been made to the practice’s nominated officer in circumstances where this is likely to prejudice an investigation. Further, even if no disclosure report has been made, an offence is committed if you know or suspect that a money laundering investigation is or is likely to be conducted and you disclose any information which is likely to prejudice the investigation.

Once a report has been made to the nominated officer, it may be an offence to continue to act for the client without the consent of the nominated officer. The nominated officer can only give consent if she has disclosed details to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and SOCA have, in turn, given consent for the practice to continue to act.

Consequently, once a disclosure has been made to the nominated officer, she must be involved in every decision relating to that client matter and you must not communicate any information concerning the subject matter of the disclosure to the client or to any other person (including your work colleagues) without the express consent of the nominated officer. Failure to comply with this procedure could lead to a criminal offence being committed.

3.  Offences involving a failure to disclose knowledge or suspicion of money laundering.

It is an offence for a person who knows or suspects or who has reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting that another is engaged in money laundering not to disclose that information where the information came to him or her in the course of business in the regulated sector.

The disclosure should be made to the practice’s nominated officer using the same procedures as noted above.

This offence does not require the practice to be acting for a particular client, nor for the practice to be in possession, etc. of criminal property, nor involved in an arrangement which facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property.

Further, the offence is not limited to knowledge or suspicion of our client – it applies to any knowledge or suspicion of money laundering offences committed by any person.

The obligation to report arises simply if the information comes into your possession in the course of our business in the regulated sector. The definition of the regulated sector has been extended significantly. The sector now covers the bulk of our work for clients. Consequently, it is Essenhigh Farrington Law's policy to assume that all client work falls within the regulated sector and that accordingly all knowledge or suspicion of money laundering must be reported to the nominated officer where the information arises in the course of our business.

The definition of money laundering for these purposes includes the three crimes noted above in category 1. In particular it should be appreciated that the crimes involving ‘acquisition, use and possession’ and ‘concealing, etc’. can be committed by the perpetrator of the crime. A person guilty of theft or tax evasion will also have committed a money laundering offence if he or she is in possession of criminal property.

Note

The Court of Appeal’s decision in Bowman v. Fels [2005] EWCA Civ 226 has made changes to the way in which the legislation is to be interpreted. First, generally speaking, the money laundering offences do not apply to most litigation (including consensual resolution of issues in a litigious context). Secondly, the interpretation of the word ‘arrangement’ (see 1(c) above) is restricted to the act of facilitation – preparatory acts which do not themselves assist in the acquisition, use, retention or control of criminal property will not give rise to liability. Thirdly, the Court of Appeal’s decision has preserved the concept of legal professional privilege. If information is privileged we cannot disclose the information to SOCA unless a waiver of privilege is obtained.

You should continue to report to the practice’s nominated officer any knowledge or suspicion, even if you believe Bowman v. Fels makes the report unnecessary. The nominated officer, with the assistance of others, will decide upon the impact of the judgment in Bowman v. Fels.

The danger signs to watch for

  • Unusual settlement requests: Settlement by cash of any large transaction involving the purchase of property or other investment should give rise to caution. Payment by way of a third party cheque or money transfer where there is a variation between the account holder, the signatory and a prospective investor should give rise to additional enquiries.
  • Fictitious buyer: Especially if the buyer is introduced to the practice by a third party (e.g. a broker or an estate agent) who is not well known to you. Beware of clients you never meet – they may be fictitious. Wherever a meeting with the client is not possible, special care is needed.
  • Unusual instructions: Care should always be taken when dealing with a client who has no discernible reason for using the practice’s services, e.g. clients with distant addresses who could find the same service nearer their home base; or clients whose requirements do not fit into the normal pattern of the practice’s business and could be more easily serviced elsewhere. Similarly, care should be taken if you are instructed to remit the net proceeds of sale to the estate agent who was instructed.
  • Misrepresentation of the purchase price: Make sure that the true cash price for a property which is to be actually paid is the price shown in the contract and the transfer, and is identical to the price shown in the mortgage instructions.
  • A deposit paid direct: A deposit, perhaps exceeding the normal 10 per cent, paid direct, or said to be direct, to the seller should give rise to concern.
  • Incomplete contract documentation: Contract documents not fully completed by the seller’s representative, e.g. dates missing or the identity of the parties not fully described.
  • Changes in the purchase price: Adjustments to the purchase price, particularly in high percentage mortgage cases, or allowances off the purchase price for, e.g. works to be carried out.
  • Unusual transactions: Those which do not follow their normal course or the usual pattern of events.
  • Large sums of cash: Always be cautious when requested to hold large sums of cash in a client account, either pending further instructions from the client or for no other purpose than for onward transmission to a third party. It is the practice’s policy not to accept sums of cash in excess of £500.00 unless prior approval of the practice’s nominated officer has been obtained.
  • The secretive client: A personal client who is reluctant to provide details of his or her identity. Be particularly cautious about the client you do not meet in person.
  • Suspect territory: Caution should be exercised whenever a client is introduced by an overseas bank, other investor or third party based in countries where production of drugs or drug trafficking may be prevalent.
  • Mortgage fraud: It is possible that a member of staff may unwittingly assist in a mortgage fraud. This is especially true of staff who deal with any form of conveyancing, whether domestic or commercial. We must therefore be very vigilant to protect our mortgagee clients and ourselves. If you turn a blind eye to any form of dishonesty over mortgages, no matter how small, you could be personally implicated in the fraud. It is important to stress that the penalties are criminal as well as civil.

Identification: general points

  • In the light of the requirements contained in the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 it is the practice’s policy to verify the identity of all new clients and all existing clients at the start of a new matter unless they have been identified already.
  • Documentary evidence must be obtained in accordance with the procedure set out below. It is important that the original of any document is examined and copied. The fee-earner should endorse the copy with the words ‘original seen’ followed by the fee-earner’s signature.
  • Particular care must be taken when acting on corporate and private client matters. The 2007 Regulations require the client’s identity and, in specified circumstances, the identity of a ‘beneficial owner’ to be established.

Where we have a corporate client, the beneficial owner is anyone who:

–   owns or controls (whether directly or indirectly, including through bearer shares) more than 25 per cent of the shares or voting rights in the body; or –   otherwise exercises control over the management of the body.

Where we are acting on the estate of a deceased person, the beneficial owner is the executor, original or by representation, or administrator for the time being of the deceased person. Where there is an ongoing trust after the estate ceases to be in administration, the beneficial owner of the trust must be identified and verified.

Where we are acting on a trust administration the beneficial owner is:

–   An individual with a specified interest in at least 25 per cent of the capital of the trust property (specified interest means a vested interest which is in possession, in remainder or in reversion). –  The class of persons in whose main interest the trust is set up or operates. –  Any individual who controls the trust.

  • The identification procedures must be carried out as soon as reasonably practicable after first contact is made between the practice and the client. It is not necessary for the practice to wait until the verification process is complete before commencing work for the client. However, if it proves impossible to satisfactorily complete the process we must cease to act for the client.
  • No client money should be accepted from the client for payment into a client account until the verification process has been satisfactorily completed.
  • Client identification should be kept on the file.
  • The copy of evidence taken to confirm a client’s identity must be kept for a period of five years after we have finished acting for the client.

Identification: procedures

The method for identifying clients will depend upon the type of client. The procedure below and the documentary evidence referred to are not to be taken as an exhaustive list of requirements. A judgement must be made as to whether alternative or additional information should be sought. If in doubt you should seek advice from the nominated officer.

Companies

In the case of a corporate client we need to be satisfied that the company exists and that we are dealing with that company. The existence of the company can be determined by making a company search which reveals the following information:

(a)     name and registered address (b)     registered number (c)     list of directors (d)     members or shareholders (e)     nature of the company’s business (f)     certificate of incorporation (g)     if a subsidiary, the name of the holding company.

In addition, evidence of the identity of beneficial owners should be obtained in accordance with the guidance outlined above.

Individuals

The following information should be obtained for individuals:

(a)     full name (b)     current permanent address (including postcode) (c)     date of birth.

At least one document from each of the following lists should be produced: List A (evidence of name and date of birth) (i)      Current valid full passport (ii)     National identity card or resident’s permit (iii)    Current photocard driving licence (iv)    Firearms certificate (v)     State pension or benefit book (vi)    HM Revenue & Customs tax notification List B (evidence of address) (i)      Home visit (ii)     Electoral roll check (iii)    Recent utility or local authority council tax bill (iv)    Recent bank/building society statement (v)     Recent mortgage statement (vi)    Current driving licence (not if used in List A) (vii)   Local council rent card or tenancy agreement

Where joint instructions are received, identification procedures should be applied to each client. If joint clients have the same name and address (e.g. spouses) the verification of the address for one client only is sufficient.

Trusts, nominees and fiduciaries

Where the trust is regulated by an independent public body (e.g. the Charities Commission) the evidence of the existence of the trust and the identity of the trustees should be sought from that body.

In other cases a certified copy of the trust (and the grant of probate or copy of the will creating the trust in the case of a deceased settlor) must be obtained. The trustees must also be identified in accordance with the procedures for individuals or companies noted above.

In addition, evidence of the identity of beneficial owners should be obtained in accordance with the guidance outlined above.

Clients where there is no face-to-face contact

Where contact with the client is not face-to face but by post or telephone, it is still necessary to obtain evidence of identity in accordance with the above procedures. Such evidence can be produced by way of an original document or by way of a certified copy provided that the copy is certified by a reputable institution, such as a bank or firm of lawyers, who should verify the name used, the current permanent address and the client’s signature. The name and address of the institution providing the certification should be noted and checked by reference to a professional directory.

Non-UK clients

Non-UK individual clients should produce passports or national identity cards together with separate evidence of the client’s permanent address obtained from the best source available. PO Box numbers are not sufficient evidence of an address.

Non-UK corporate clients should produce equivalent information to that obtained by making a UK company search. The results of company searches made abroad will depend upon the filing requirements in the local jurisdiction.

If you are unable to obtain satisfactory evidence of identity in accordance with the above procedures you must contact the practice’s nominated officer who will advise on any alternative steps which may be taken or consider whether instructions must be terminated.

Help

Money laundering is real and it will affect us. If you have any concerns regarding the practice’s policy or your responsibilities contact Samantha Essenhigh.

Conclusion

To minimise the risks of liability:

  • Verify the identity and bona fides of your client: Meet the client or clients where possible and get to know them.
  • Question unusual instructions: Make sure that you discuss them fully with your client, and note all such discussions carefully on the file.
  • Discuss any aspects of the transaction which worry you with your client: For example, if you suspect that your client may have submitted false information or they intend to proceed with a fraudulent matter, you must refuse to continue to act for such clients.
  • Check that the true information is shown in all documentation: Check that the actual information stated in all documentation is consistent, correct, accurate and in line with your instructions.
  • Do not witness pre-signed documentation: No deed or other formal legal documents should be witnessed by a solicitor or staff member unless the person signing does so in the presence of a witness. If a deed is pre-signed, ensure that it is re-signed in the presence of a witness.
  • Verify signatures: Consider whether signatures on all documents connected with a transaction should be examined and compared with signatures on any other documentation.
  • Make a company search: Where a private company then consideration should be given to ascertain the names and addresses of the officers and shareholders which can then be compared with the names of those connected with the matter.
Essenhigh Farrington Law Client Complaints Policy

Our complaints policy

Essenhigh Farrington Law is committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.
 

Our complaints procedure

If you have a concern or a complaint, please contact us as soon as you are aware of the problem so this can be addressed. Please contact Caroline Farrington on telephone: 01704 517480, email: cf@essenhighfarringtonlaw.com or by post: 19 Anchor Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 0UT. In the absence of Caroline Farrington, you may contact the firm’s Practice Manager, Samantha Essenhigh who may be contacted on telephone: 01704 517480, email: se@essenhighfarringtonlaw.com or by post at the address stated above.
 

What will happen next?

  1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within five working days of our receiving the complaint, enclosing a copy of this procedure. If you have any special requirements regarding the format of our complaints procedure, please do let us know.
  2. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our client care partner, Caroline Farrington, who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you.
  3. Caroline will then provide you with a full response and it is hoped that your complaint will be fully resolved at this time. However, if a resolution is not reached at this stage, we will invite you to a meeting to discuss any outstanding issues.
  4. Within 7 days of any meeting, we will write to you to confirm what discussions took place and any solutions which have been agreed.
  5. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again to explain why you remain unhappy with our response and we will review your comments. Depending on the matter we may at this stage arrange for another member of the management team to review the decision.
  6. We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
  7. If you are remain unsatisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or call 0300 555 0333 about your complaint. Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within twelve months of your receiving a final written response from us regarding your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman has provided further guidance on its service at www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
  8. If for any reason, it becomes necessary to change any of the timescales set out above, we will let you know and explain why.
Essenhigh Farrington Law Equality and Diversity Policy

Essenhigh Farrington Law Equality and Diversity Policy

Equality and Diversity Policy pursuant to Chapter 2 of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Code of Conduct 2011 and Principle 9 of the SRA Handbook 2011.

This firm is committed to the principles of equality and diversity and to observing all legislative requirements. This is a policy written and adopted for preventing discrimination, harassment and victimisation and promoting equality and diversity within the firm.  This applies to the firm’s managers and employees, and its professional dealings with other solicitors, barristers, other lawyers, agents, clients and third parties.

In accordance with Chapter 2 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 we have compiled this policy and will adopt and implement the provisions contained herein and we will ensure that managers, employees, and agents with whom we contract on a self-employed fee-earning basis, adhere to the contents of this document and we will deal with any instances of discrimination which might arise.

For the avoidance of doubt the word, ‘we’ is intended to mean the legal practice known as Essenhigh Farrington Law.

 

Regulation and Legislation

In developing and implementing our Equality and Diversity Policy, we are committed to complying with Chapter 2 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011, the 10 Mandatory Principles and all relevant statutory legislative provisions.

 

Overview of the Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 provides a new legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. The Act simplifies and brings into one act existing discrimination law including:

  • the Equal Pay Act 1970;
  • the Sex Discrimination Act 1975;
  • the Race Relations Act 1976;
  • the Disability Discrimination Act 1995;
  • the Equality Act 2006, part 2
  • the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003;
  • the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003;
  • the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006;
  • and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007).

The Equality Act 2010 received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 and its core provisions came into force on the 1 October 2010.

 

Provisions which came into force on 1 October 2010

  • The basic framework of protection against direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation in services and public functions; premises; work; education; associations, and transport.
  • Changing the definition of gender reassignment, by removing the requirement for medical supervision.
  • Levelling up protection for people discriminated against because they are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has, a protected characteristic, so providing new protection for people like carers.
  • Clearer protection for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Applying the European definition of indirect discrimination to all protected characteristics.
  • Extending protection from indirect discrimination to disability.
  • Introducing a new concept of “discrimination arising from disability”, to replace protection under previous legislation lost as a result of a legal judgment.
  • Applying the detriment model to victimisation protection (securing alignment with the approach in employment law).
  • Harmonising the thresholds for the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.
  • Extending protection from 3rd party harassment to all protected characteristics.
  • Making it more difficult for disabled people to be unfairly screened out when applying for jobs, by restricting the circumstances in which employers can ask job applicants questions about disability or health.
  • Allowing claims for direct gender pay discrimination where there is no actual comparator.
  • Making pay secrecy clauses unenforceable.
  • Extending protection in private clubs to sex, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment.
  • Introducing new powers for employment tribunals to make recommendations which benefit the wider workforce.
  • Harmonising provisions allowing voluntary positive action.

 

Further existing legislation includes, but is not limited to, the:

  • Employment Rights Act 1996;
  • Commission for Racial Equality code of practice for the elimination of racial discrimination and the promotion of equality of opportunity in employment (1983)
  • Equal Opportunities Commission code of practice on sex discrimination; equal opportunities policies, procedures and practices in employment (1985);
  • Equal Opportunities Commission code of practice on equal pay (2003);
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 codes of practice in relation to rights of access to facilities, services and premises in employment;
  • European Community code of practice on the protection of the dignity of men and women at work;
  • Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations 2005; and
  • any relevant amendments to such regulatory or further codes of practice.

 

1  Equality and diversity – SRA Code of Conduct 2011, Chapter 2

1.1  We will not in our professional dealings with the firm’s managers, and employees, other lawyers, clients or third parties discriminate, without lawful cause, against any person subject to protected characteristics, nor victimise or harass them on the grounds of:

i)          race or racial group (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins);

ii)          sex (including marital status, gender reassignment (transsexual), pregnancy, maternity and paternity);

iii)        sexual orientation (including civil partnership status);

iv)        religion or belief;

v)         age; or

vi)        disability.

 

1.2  We will take such steps, and make such adjustments, as are reasonable in all the circumstances in order to prevent any of the firm’s managers, employees, or clients who are disabled, from being placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with those who are not disabled.

1.3  Definitions and examples of discrimination, harassment, and victimisation are explained in the Law Society’s most recent Practice Note which accompanies, and is supplementary to, this policy.

1.4  Where there has been a decision of a court or tribunal of the United Kingdom in proceedings to which we were a party, that we have committed, or are to be treated as having committed, an unlawful act of discrimination then that finding shall be treated as evidence of a breach of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011, Chapter 2.

 

2  Communicating the policy

2.1  The firm is committed to encouraging equality of opportunity and respect for diversity (including the prevention of unlawful discrimination) in the firm as well as in those areas in which it has influence.  All the firm’s managers, employees and agents with whom we contract on a self-employed fee-earning basis will be supplied with a copy of the firm’s Equality and Diversity Policy, (through the firm’s OPM) and each must act in compliance with the provisions contained within the policy. All members of staff will keep an electronic copy on their desktops and a hard copy will be made available by the directors.

2.2  Any client, barrister, other lawyer, agent, the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority or other relevant third party will be supplied with a copy of this Equality and Diversity Policy upon request.

 

3  Implementing the policy

3.1  Ultimate responsibility for implementing the Equality and Diversity Policy rests with Kathryn Moran. The firm appoints Kathryn Moran as the person to manage the day to day effectiveness of the policy in Gibraltar and in Southport this is to be undertaken by Samantha Essenhigh.

3.2  All the firm’s managers and employees of the firm are expected to pay due regard to the provisions of its Equality and Diversity Policy and individuals are personally responsible for ensuring compliance with it when undertaking their duties or representing the firm.

 

4  Ensuring equality and diversity in relation to managers and employees

4.1  As an employer

The firm will treat all job applicants, managers and employees equally and fairly and will not discriminate against them without lawful cause. This will, for example, include arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, promotion, grievance and disciplinary processes, selection for redundancies, dress code, references, bonus schemes (where appropriate), work allocation and any other employment related activities.

4.2  Recruitment and selection

This firm recognises the benefits of having a diverse workforce and will take steps to ensure that:

  • the firm endeavours to recruit from the widest pool of candidates possible;
  • employment opportunities are open and accessible to all;
  • where appropriate, positive action measures are taken to attract applications from all sections of society and especially from those groups which are underrepresented in the workforce;
  • interviews, selection criteria and decision processes do not discriminate unjustifiably by treating one person less favourably than another in the same or similar circumstances;
  • wherever necessary, lawful exemptions (genuine occupational requirements or genuine occupational qualifications) will be used to recruit suitable staff to meet the special needs of particular groups; and
  • recruitment agencies acting for the firm will be aware of our requirement not to discriminate, and act accordingly.

4.3  Conditions of service

The firm will treat all managers and employees equally and create a working environment which is free from discrimination, victimisation and harassment and which respects, where appropriate, the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of all such managers, employees, clients and third parties.

Terms and conditions of service for managers and employees will comply with anti-discrimination legislation. The provision of benefits such as working hours, maternity, paternity, adoption and other leave arrangements, performance appraisal systems, dress code, bonus schemes and any other conditions of employment will not discriminate against any employee on any of the grounds listed under Chapter 2 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Where necessary and if practically possible, the firm will endeavour to provide appropriate facilities and conditions of service which take into account the specific needs of employees which arise from any of the grounds listed within any regulatory or statutory provisions and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.

4.4  Promotion and career development

Promotion within the firm will be made according to aptitude and ability and anyone with the appropriate qualities will be considered equally and without discrimination under any of the grounds listed under any regulatory or statutory provisions and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.

The selection criteria and processes for promotion will be kept under review to ensure that there is no unjustifiably discriminatory impact on any particular group. Whilst positive action measures may be taken to encourage under-represented groups to apply for promotion opportunities, recruitment and promotion to all positions will be based solely on merit.

4.5  Training

All employees will have equal access to training and other career development opportunities appropriate to their experience and abilities. However, the firm will take appropriate positive action measures (as permitted by the legislation) to provide special training and support for groups which are under-represented in the workforce and encourage them to take up training and career development opportunities.

4.6  The firm’s Managers

Arrangements and procedures for selecting managers, considering their terms and conditions of service and any access to benefits, facilities, and termination arrangements, will be reviewed and amended by agreement whenever necessary in order to prevent discrimination under any of the prohibited grounds listed under any regulatory or statutory provisions and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Maternity rights available to the firm’s managers shall be no less favourable than those required by legislation for employees.

4.7  Barristers other lawyers, agents and third parties

i)  Barristers and Other Lawyers
When barristers and other lawyers are required, they are instructed on the basis of their skills, experience ability and other qualities as stated in the firm’s selection criteria. The firm will not withhold instructions from any barrister or other lawyer due to discrimination under any regulatory or statutory provisions and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Clients’ requests for a named barrister or other lawyer should be complied with, subject to the firm’s duty to discuss with the client the suitability of the barrister or other lawyer and to advise appropriately, including, when necessary, the firm’s policy on equality and diversity with regard to discrimination, without lawful cause, under any of the grounds listed under any regulatory or statutory provisions and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.

ii)  Agents and suppliers
All lists of approved agents and suppliers, contractors, and other third parties who, or which, are regarded as suitable to be instructed by those within the firm, have been compiled on the basis of the ability of those persons or organisations to undertake work of a particular type and contain no discriminatory bias based upon any of the grounds listed under any regulatory or statutory provisions and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.

4.8  Clients

The firm is generally free to decide whether to accept instructions from any particular client, but any refusal to act will not be based upon any of the prohibited grounds listed under any regulatory or statutory provisions and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.

This firm will take steps to meet the different needs of particular clients arising from its obligations under any anti-discrimination legislation and the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.  In addition, where necessary and where it is permitted by legislation (for example, provisions relating to positive action or exemptions), the firm will seek to provide services which meet the specific needs and requests arising from clients’ racial or cultural background; gender (including marital status, gender re-assignment, pregnancy, maternity and paternity); disability; religion or belief; sexual orientation (including civil partnership status), age, responsibilities as carers, or other relevant factors.

 

5  Monitoring, reviewing, evaluating and updating the policy

5.1  The policy will be constantly monitored by the firm’s compliance officers to judge its effectiveness.  In addition to collating allegations of policy breaches from aggrieved persons and those acting on their behalf, the appointed compliance officers will survey managers, employees and any contracted self-employed agents on an ongoing basis in order to obtain their views as to the firm’s compliance with the issues subject of this policy.  All records will be retained and presented to the firm’s managers for review annually.

As a matter of course, the following information will be recorded on an annual basis:-

(a) the gender, racial composition and the number of disabled staff and managers throughout all levels of the firm;

(b) the race, gender and disability of all applicants, (unsuccessful, successful and short-listed) for jobs and training contracts;

(c) the race, gender and disability of all applicants considered for promotion and training opportunities and details of whether they were successful or not;

(d) the number and outcome of complaints of discrimination made by staff, managers, barristers, other lawyers, clients and other agents or third parties; and

(e) the disciplinary action (if any) taken against employees or the firm’s managers, by race, gender and disability.

This information reviewed will be used to evaluate the impact of the anti-discrimination policy.  Any changes required will be made and implemented without delay.

 

6  Complaints and disciplinary issues

6.1  Any alleged contravention of Chapter 2 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010, by those acting on behalf of the firm against any other person will be investigated by the firm’s compliance officers.

6.2  Proven acts of discrimination, victimisation or harassment on any of the grounds stipulated in any regulatory or statutory provisions and for which legislation exists as a result of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010, by those acting on behalf of the firm will lead to appropriate action including termination of services where appropriate. This will comply with Chapter 2 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and in particular Outcome 2.5 as well as Principle 9 of the SRA Handbook 2011.

You can follow the link to the Law Society’s Practice Note ‘The Equality Act 2010’ dated 2 May 2012 or the link to the Equality and diversity requirements: SRA Handbook dated 18 July 2012.

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