On Thursday 1 September, the SRA published its long awaited guidance on sexual misconduct. The guidance sets out the SRA’s revised approach to sexual misconduct cases following the High Court’s decision in Beckwith at the end of 2020, where the Court made clear that the SRA should only be investigating and prosecuting cases where the conduct in question realistically touches on the standing of the legal profession.
In this webinar, chaired by Beth Hale, partner and General Counsel at CM Murray LLP, Andrew Pavlovic, partner at CM Murray LLP and regulatory/professional discipline specialist, Ellen Peart, partner at BCL Solicitors LLP and criminal law specialist, and Corinne Staves, partner at CM Murray LLP and partnership law specialist, will provide a summary/overview of the guidance, before considering the following issues in greater detail:
- The concept of “proximity to practice”;
- The emphasis on sexual motivation in the guidance and the extent to which motivation is considered an aggravating factor in the criminal courts;
- The SRA’s approach to criminal convictions and the circumstances in which they will pursue a matter following an acquittal or where there has been no criminal complaint;
- The sections in the guidance relating to consent and alcohol;
- The SRA’s follow up consultation on financial penalties, in particular (1) the proposal that fines/rebukes will not be a suitable sanction for sexual misconduct cases in the absence of “exceptional circumstances” and (2) the piloting of victim impact statements in Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal proceedings;
- The steps that firms should be taking to ensure that the guidance is read and understood by partners and staff, in light of the SRA Workplace Environment Guidance published in February.