Undertakings and the SRA 2011 [Archived]
Undertakings and the SRA 2011 [Archived]

The following Practice Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Undertakings and the SRA 2011 [Archived]
  • What is an undertaking?
  • Timescale for discharging an undertaking
  • Systems and controls
  • Inability to discharge undertakings
  • Reporting to the SRA
  • Enforcement action by the SRA

What is an undertaking?

An undertaking is:

  1. a statement, given orally or in writing (whether or not it includes the word 'undertake' or 'undertaking')

  2. made by or on behalf of you or your firm in the course of practice, or by you outside the course of practice but as a solicitor (or REL)

  3. to someone who reasonably places reliance on it

  4. that you or your firm will do something or cause something to be done, or refrain from doing something

All these component parts must exist for an undertaking to arise.

In the vast majority of cases it will be obvious whether an undertaking has been given. Not every statement of intent or promise made by a solicitor is an undertaking. If this were the case, then a promise to return a telephone call could be said to be an enforceable undertaking. The difficulty is finding the line between an enforceable undertaking and a simple statement of intent or promise. There are no clear rules about whether a particular promise is an undertaking—each case will turn on its own facts but the matters discussed below are relevant. For more guidance, see practice note: What is an undertaking?.

Timescale for discharging an undertaking

You should discharge an undertaking within an agreed timescale or within a reasonable time.

Related documents: