April Newsletter 2020
The Institute of Legal Research & Standards
APRIL 2020 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
LSRA PUBLISHES ITS FIRST INDEPENDENT COMPLAINT HANDLING REPORT
On the 7th April 2020 the Legal Services Regulatory Authority published its first independent Complaint Handling Report in accordance with section 73(1) of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015.
This bi-annual report and all reports going forward will be useful to highlight emerging themes and identify areas where it may be possible to learn lessons and raise standards. It was noted from the report that:-
- 636 complaints were received by the LSRA Complaints and Resolutions Unit in the first five months.
- 342 complaints related to alleged misconduct, 238 complaints related to alleged inadequate services and 56 related to alleged overcharging.
- A total of 36 complaints were resolved informally.
- What was noted and reported from the complaints received is the need for legal practitioners to communicate with their clients in a clear and timely manner.
The report also contains four anonymised case studies set out under the following headings:- COMPLAINT – OUTCOME – LESSONS FOR PRACTITIONERS. The report also has several useful graphs highlighting the statistical breakdown of complaints.
To view the report in full and the brief summary see https://www.lsra.ie/first-complaints-report-shows-636-complaints/
CORONAVIRUS CYBERSECURITY CHALLENGES – Q&A
The Solicitor Regulation Authority UK have recognised that “an unprecedented number of solicitors and staff will be working from home and providing their services digitally, some having never done so before”.
They have addressed a number of very relevant questions setting out what you can do to protect yourself and your firm.
They have set out detailed and informative answers to the following questions:-
- How has the cybercrime situation changed?
- What are the technology risks form working at home?
- How have phishing scams changed?
- What should I do if I have been affected by cybercrime?
- Where can I go for further advices?
- What are the technology risks from remote meeting systems?
To view these Q & A see https://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/cyber-security-qa/
DATA PROTECTION TIPS FOR VIDEO CONFERENCING
On the 3rd April 2020 the Data Protection Commissioner issued a guidance note in relation to Data Protection Tips for Video Conferencing.
In these unprecedented times the use of video conferencing and video-calling in organisations between employees/employers working remotely and also individuals keeping in contact with friends and families has increased significantly.
It is important that the use of such technology is safe and secure and that an adequate standard of data protection is maintained.
In light of the foregoing the Data Protection Commissioner has set out several useful tips both for Organisations and Individuals.
On the Law Society’s website for England and Wales, David Fleming has also written and article on this same topic titled “Corona Virus (COVID-19)-How to video conference safely”, he discusses this topic under the following headings:-
- Service Choice
- Video conferencing etiquette
- Data and privacy
- Spying and spoofing
To view this article in full see https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-video-conference-safely/
This matter is also discussed in a blog on the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) website see link https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2020/04/video-conferencing-what-to-watch-out-for/
AML RISKS DUE TO COVID-19 CRISIS
The Law Society of England and Wales website contains an advisory note highlighting key AML risks and challenges for the legal profession in light of the current COVID-19 crisis.
This advisory note was published by the Legal Sector Affinity Group and deals with the following:-
- AML risks to legal firms and vulnerabilities that criminals may seek to exploit during the current COVID-19 crisis;
- Non face to face identification and verification and associated digital identity services;
- Issues to consider regarding policies, controls and procedures, data protection and information security e.g. “If staff are working away from the office, you should ensure they have access to the necessary CDD documentation to be able to consider the risks of any client or matter or if you are using digital video or photography to support your CDD or obtaining other personal information you should obtain consent from the data subject for the capture and storage of this information and have due regard to data protection requirement.”
To read this advisory note in full see https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/articles/lsag-advisory-note-covid-19-and-preventing-money-laundering/
HEALTH (PRESERVATION AND PROTECTION AND OTHER EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST) ACT 2020
In the Spring Edition of the Parchment, Matthew Kenny writes an informative article titled “Covid-19 and Our New Laws”. In this article Matthew Kenny summarises the Health (Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020, the Act legislates for matters of public health and financial support resulting from Covid-19.
He looks at and discusses the following:-
- Covid-19 Pandemic Payment;
- If you are sick and cannot work;
- Parents who must stay at home to look after their children;
- Public Health;
- The Power to Penalise those who do not comply;
- Potential of Illegality;
- Criminal Sanctions for Obstructing Civil Detention Orders;
- Sunset Clauses;
- A History of Emergency Legislation;
- Public Safety (Emergency Powers) Act of 1926 and the Emergency Powers Act of 1939;
- The Criminal Justice Public Order Act 1994;
- Offensive Conduct;
- Closure of Public Houses and the Restriction of Movement.
To view this article see https://issuu.com/256media/docs/parchment_spring_2020-flipbook?fr=sYmM2YzE1MTY1NA
To view the act in full see http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2020/act/1/section/10/enacted/en/html
LEGAL COSTS DUTIES
Is your firm in compliance with the Section 150 cost rules?
The LSRA has set out on their website a section dealing with your Legal Costs Duties relating to a firm’s legal practice, it has links dealing with “Costs Transparency Rules”, “Complying with section 150 costs rules” and “Bill of Costs”.
To view same see https://www.lsra.ie/for-law-professionals/your-legal-costs-duties/
NEW FORM OF VHI UNDERTAKING
In this month’s edition of the Law Society Gazette the Litigation Committee have published a guidance note stating the Law Society and VHI Insurance DAC have agreed a revised form of VHI undertaking.
To view this practice note see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2020/april-2020-gazette.pdf#page=62
PRACTICE NOTE ON VOLUNTARY TRANSFERS
In this month’s edition of the Law Society Gazette the Conveyancing Committee have published a guidance note titled “Separate representation for both sides in a voluntary transfer.” The practice note looks at various case scenarios and asks and answers the following questions:-
- Do you need a formal contract for sale between two sides in a voluntary transfer?
- Do you need to raise formal requisitions on title?
It also discusses dealing with transfers which are undervalue and where one of the sides refuses to obtain legal representation.
To read this practice note see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2020/april-2020-gazette.pdf#page=61