Code of Conduct for Members

 

Introduction

All legal practitioners owe a wider duty of care to society at large. Accordingly, TETLI Members are expected to conduct themselves and their businesses in a way which, whenever reasonably possible, seeks to improve the quality of service given to clients and supports access to justice for all and uphold the rule of law.

The Code is aimed at enabling the Institute to identify the highest level of conduct for all members and is set out below in 7 sections:

Section 1 – Summary of the Code and Outline of Outcome of Breaching the Code

Section 2 – Working with Institute Members

Section 3 – Standards for Delivering Legal Services

Section 4 – Compliance

Section 5 – Trust and Confidentiality of Information

Section 6 – Integrity and the Legal Service

Section 7 – The Institute and its Diversity Policy

 

Section 1 – Summary of the Code and Outline of Outcome of Breaching the Code

TETLI Members are required to acquiesce to this Code of Conduct and in doing so, must not under any circumstance deliver into the public domain any derogatory, negative, dissenting, upsetting, or defamatory material against other members without the express approval of the Secretariat.

Members acknowledge that the Institute does not exist solely for the benefit of its members.

An integral part of the duty of TETLI Members is to have regard to the interests of clients and the wider public.

 (i.e. the duties in this Code are not just limited to clients but extend to the public who encounter and who may be affected by members’ conduct).

The Institute reserves the right to consider complaints made by members of the public.

The Executive Office of the Institute reserves the right to terminate membership of any Individual or Corporate Member where it believes that the member may be in breach of its Code of Conduct or where it has reason to suspect that a member is involved in any action or situation, whether intentionally or by coincidence, which may bring disrepute upon its members.

The Institute does not take such action lightly and does so in the best interests of the Institute as a whole.

Decisions made by The Executive Office can be considered by the Secretariat should the Sectarian request a consideration, and should an accord exist, no further correspondence is entered into with the Member.

This does not necessitate a complaint being made, nor does it necessitate the allegation of misconduct.

All members must openly embrace the concept of Mediation and Without Prejudice discussions before taking legal action against the Institute or members within it.

 

Section 2 – Working with Institute Members

2.1       Members must not under any circumstance criticise other members’ work.

2.2       Members must not operate covertly.

2.3       Members must not write, speak, insinuate or infer a disparaging comment about another member.

 

Section 3 – Standards for Delivering Legal Services

Members must:-

3.1       Support the Institute’s objectives.

3.2       Help to ensure that good standards of service to clients are maintained.

3.3       Promote the Institute and the legal profession.

3.4       At all times when acting in the legal profession uphold the standards of professional practice.

3.5       Handle complaints in the first instance and inform the Secretariat office. In the event of a non-amicable resolution inform the Secretariat and permit them to intervene, consider and determine any complaint made against a TETLI Member.

3.6       Permit the Secretariat to have the power to sanction the member, if that member is found to have breached the Institute’s Code of Conduct, other rules of the Institute or, where the Secretariat considers that the level of behaviour expected has fallen below an acceptable standard

NoteSuch standards will be judged by the Secretariat having considered all the circumstances.

3.7       Accept that such sanctions include but are not limited to, suspension or termination of membership

Note: The Secretariat does not have authority to order payments of fines or costs or compensation to a complainant or other party. However, if the Secretariat makes recommendations to a Member about recompense to a complainant (e.g. return of fees paid or client documents held in lien) and these are ignored, then that fact may be considered when adjudicating a matter.

A Member shall:

3.8       Provide a good standard of work, always.

3.9       Uphold their duties and obligations under law.

3.10     Avoid any action or situation which may bring disrepute upon the Institute or its members.

3.11     Avoid doubt being cast upon his/her own professional integrity or the reputation of others in the legal profession.

3.12     Assist with the impartial administration of justice.

3.13     Recognise that the interests of the client are paramount, save that always, and in all matters, a member’s primary and overriding duty is to the Court.

3.14     Ensure clients and others fully understand from the outset who the client is dealing with and what level is their expertise.

 

Section 4 - Compliance

4.1     Where a TETLI Member is subject to other jurisdictions or legal systems outside of the United Kingdom, they are expected to comply with these professional standards where practicable, but will not necessarily be deemed to be in breach if there has been compliance with established local custom and practice which is itself in conflict with these standards;

            and

4.2       Comply with, observe and be bound by the Institute Code, and any other practice or conduct rules issued from time to time by the Institute.

4.3       Act in their private capacity having regard for their own professional standing and not seriously impede, influence or otherwise affect the TETLI Member, membership (as a whole) and or the standing of the Institute.

 

Section 5 – Trust and Confidentiality of Information

A member shall not:

5.1       Misuse the trust given them nor must they reveal confidential information to others who are not entitled to receive it.

5.2       Devise any way to keep confidential client’s information from their firm / employer.

5.3       Act for two or more clients where a conflict of interest between them exists.

5.4       For personal gain (including connected parties), take advantage of information obtained during the conduct of any matter.

5.5       Hold themselves out as a Member of the Institute unless they enjoy good standing as a fully paid up TETLI Member.

5.6       Overcharge clients or profit from the legal-client relationship without such profit being disclosed to the client.

 

Section 6 – Integrity and the Legal Service

A member shall, always:

6.1       Work within the framework of the law.

6.2       Use their best endeavours to avoid any breach of the law by their client or employer.

6.3       Discontinue use of the professional title after membership has terminated.

6.4       Claim to be regulated or licenced by the Institute.

Members must be open, honest and co-operative in their dealings with the Institute and any other:

6.5       By responding to any requests promptly and within the indicated time frame.

6.6       By immediately notifying the institute of any breach of this Code by yourself or others.

6.6       By disclosing any other information about yourself which the Institute would reasonably expect to be given.

6.7       By not taking any action to prevent anyone from reporting you to the Institute.

6.8       By acknowledging that the Institute is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (as amended).

 

Section 7 – The Institute and its Diversity Policy

7.1       Members must not discriminate on grounds of race, creed, age, sex or sexual orientation, and must not discriminate unfairly or unreasonably on grounds of disability in their professional dealings with clients, employers, staff, other legal practitioners or any other persons.

7.2       Members acting as principals must operate a policy dealing with the avoidance of such discrimination.