Code of Conduct

Effective Date:  1st June 2015

Introduction

This Code of Conduct must be read in conjunction with the Paralegal Practitioners’ Rules.

This Code of Conduct (“Code”) is made pursuant to the principles contained in the Legal Services Act 2007 (“LSA”). This code takes effect on the effective date above as designated by the Professional Paralegal Register (“PPR”).  This Code sets out the principles which you must follow as a member of the PPR and is in addition to any membership body requirements.

In the event of any conflict with the code of conduct and the Paralegal Practitioners’ Rules or the Practising Certificate Rules, (PPR Rules) then the PPR Rules will apply.

As a member of the PPR, you are a person under voluntary regulation of the PPR and authorised to carry out work as outlined in any Paralegal Practising Certificate issued by the PPR.  Trainee members do not have Paralegal Practising Certificates.

The following activities are Reserved Activities and cannot be undertaken by Paralegals.

Reserved Legal Activities:

  • the exercise of rights of audience (i.e. appearing as an advocate before a court);
  • the conduct of litigation (i.e. issuing proceedings before a court and commencing, prosecuting or defending those proceedings);
  • reserved instrument activities (i.e. dealing with the transfer of land or property under specific legal provisions);
  • probate activities (i.e. obtaining grant or letters of administration);
  • notarial activities (i.e. work governed by the Public Notaries Act 1801); and
  • the administration of oaths (i.e. taking oaths, swearing affidavits etc.).

As a member of the PPR you must:

  1. Act with integrity and professionalism.
  2. Act in the best interests of your client taking due care skill and diligence.
  3. Undertake work and service for each client with due skill, care and diligence.
  4. Comply with your duty to the court in the administration of justice.
  5. Deal co-operatively with the PPR.
  6. Ensure equality of opportunity.
  7. Maintain financial soundness including acting under adequate professional indemnity insurance and such other insurance as required.

You must comply with the following Rules. Breach of this Code may result in disciplinary proceedings being brought against you by the PPR:

RULE 1: Act with integrity and professionalism

  • 1.A      You must act honestly, professionally and with integrity in all your dealings in your professional life and not allow yourself to be compromised.
  • 1.B      You must not give false or misleading information to anyone with whom you deal.
  • 1.C      You must not be misleading or inaccurate when you publicise yourself as a Paralegal or your business.
  • 1.D      You must not enter into any fee arrangements which are unlawful.
  • 1.E      You must act in a way which promotes trust from the general public and in the profession of Paralegals.

RULE 2: Act in the best interests of the client

The complaints procedure is currently being reviewed by the Register Regulatory Committee. In the interim, if you would like to make a complaint please contact info@ppr.org.uk

RULE 3: Maintain financial soundness

  • 3.A      You must run your business or carry out your role within the business in accordance with sound financial principles.
  • 3.B      You must maintain systems and controls for monitoring the financial stability of your business and take steps to notify the PPR and address issues identified.

RULE 4: Provide a good quality of work and service to each client

  • 4.A      You must only undertake work for which you are properly qualified.
  • 4.B      Work must be undertaken with due skill, care and attention, with proper regard for the technical standard expected of you. If you do not have the knowledge, skills or experience to undertake the work you must decline it.
  • 4.C      You must ensure that you carry out your professional work in a timely manner with proper regard for standards of professional service and care.
  • 4.D      You must comply with Rule 6 of the Paralegal Practitioners’ Rules if you are Tier 2 or above which requires you to maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance.
  • 4.E      You must keep your professional knowledge up to date by undertaking relevant training in accordance with current Paralegal Practising Rules.
  • 4.F      You must keep the client regularly informed as to the progress of the work and keep accurate records of that work.
  • 4.G      You must ensure that clients are able to make informed decisions about the work being undertaken on their behalf and the cost of that work.

RULE 5: Your duty to the court in the administration of justice

  • 5.A      You must at all times act within the law.
  • 5.B      You must not knowingly or recklessly either mislead the court or allow the court to be misled.
  • 5.C      You must comply with any court order which places an obligation on you and you must not be in contempt of court.
  • 5.D      You must advise clients to comply with court orders made against them.

RULE 6: Deal with the PPR in an open & co-operative way

  • 6.A      You must be open, honest and co-operate in your dealings with the PPR by responding to any requests promptly and fully within 14 calendar days.
  • 6.B      You must immediately notify the PPR of any breach of this Code by yourself or other Paralegals.
  • 6.C      You must disclose any other information about yourself which the PPR would reasonably expect to be notified.
  • 6.D      You must not take any action to prevent anyone from reporting you to the PPR.
  • 6.E      You acknowledge that the PPR is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (as amended) and shall assist and co-operate with the PPR to enable the PPR to comply with any information disclosure requirements.

RULE 7: Treat everyone with dignity and respect

  • 7.A      You must treat all clients and third parties with dignity and respect. You should encourage equality of opportunity and must not unlawfully discriminate against them, either directly or indirectly, victimise or harass them on the grounds of age, disability, race, ethnic or national origin, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marital status (including civil partnerships), sexual orientation, religious belief.
  • 7.B      Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides the right to freedom of expression and information, subject to certain restrictions that are “in accordance with law” and “necessary in a democratic Society”.  This right includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas.
  • The PPR may limit these rights in accordance with the law if it considers it necessary for the prevention of crime; the protection of the reputation or rights of others; for preventing the disclosure of information that has been received in confidence.