Solicitor’s undertakings

Undertakings are to be treated seriously. An undertaking is a promise made by a solicitor that he will carry out or refrain from carrying out an act in circumstances where the recipient of the promise reasonably places reliance upon it.

An undertaking need not be in writing.

A breach of an undertaking can lead to disciplinary proceedings and would normally result in a rebuke or a fine by the SRA under its internal disciplinary powers in less serious cases or a fine by the SDT in more serious cases.

However, a case in which I appeared on behalf of the SRA resulted in the Respondent being struck off the Roll. In Law Society –v- Beller (2014) the Court said, “the whole point of the undertaking…. Was that the client had to have the solicitors word that the money would only be transferred upon his consent. By breaching that undertaking and not being in a position to perform that undertaking, there was, in my view, such a serious breach of Rules and the potential of such damage to the profession, that unless they were wholly extraordinary circumstances that was sufficient of itself for striking off the Roll”.

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