Undertakings and the SRA 2019
Published by a LexisPSL Practice Compliance expert

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

  • Undertakings and the SRA 2019
  • What is an undertaking?
  • Professional obligation to perform undertakings
  • Timescale for performing undertakings
  • Receiving undertakings
  • Systems and controls
  • Reporting breaches to the SRA
  • Enforcement action by the SRA

Undertakings and the SRA 2019

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. to someone who reasonably places reliance on it

  3. that you or a third party 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, 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.

The definition of ‘undertaking’ in the SRA Glossary 2011 also required that the undertaking must be ‘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)’. This has not been carried across to the definition in the SRA Glossary 2019. This omission is unlikely to have any real impact in practice, as there is

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