UK solicitors watchdog says it will not tell law firms to drop Russian clients
The UK solicitors’ watchdog has said it will not tell law firms to drop Russian clients.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) said its “general position is that firms can choose who they act for,” as it said the issue is “highly unlikely to be a regulatory matter.”
“The current situation with the conflict in Ukraine is clearly novel, and whether there is a ‘good reason’ for terminating a client retainer in response will be a matter for the courts to decide, on the individual facts,” the SRA said.
“Either way, from a regulatory point of view, our concern is to ensure that the firm has carefully considered the legal position and also understood and mitigated any risks to the client.”
The comments come after a number of major international law firms, including Magic Circle law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and US law firm Squire Patton Boggs, dropped Russian clients, following the invasion of Ukraine.
This month, Squire Patton Boggs dropped Gazprombank as a client, while Freshfields dropped Russia’s VEB.RF bank having acted on its behalf in a legal battle over sacred Jewish manuscripts.
Major law firms from across the Western world have also closed their Russian offices and sought to cut their ties with the country.