The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
An undertaking is a commitment by a solicitor to do something. It can be enforced against the solicitor by the courts. Failure to comply with an undertaking can also be professional misconduct leading to disciplinary action by the SRA or SDT.
This Practice Note explains what can constitute an undertaking. The court’s powers in relation to undertakings are explained in Practice Note: Undertakings and the court.
An undertaking is:
a statement, given orally or in writing (whether or not it includes the word 'undertake' or 'undertaking')
to someone who reasonably places reliance on it
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.
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. In the vast majority of cases it will be obvious whether an undertaking has been given.
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;
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