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Is there a difference between dishonesty and lack of integrity?

In Malins v SRA, Mostyn J has overlooked the strong reasons why there is a subjective aspect of dishonesty in disciplinary cases, write Ben Hubble QC and Helen Evans

22 May 2017

Is there a difference between dishonesty and lack of integrity? Until the judgment of Mr Justice Mostyn in Malins v SRA [2017] EWHC 835 (12 April 2017), the received wisdom in solicitors’ disciplinary cases was ‘yes’. As Mr Justice Holgate had noted in SRA v Wingate [2016] EWHC 3455: ‘While all dishonesty involves a lack of integrity, not all lack of integrity involves dishonesty.’

The distinction usually relied on is that a finding of dishonesty can only be made where a person is both objectively and subjectively dishonest. By contrast, lack of integrity does not require the subjective element. A person can lack integrity if they follow their own code of beliefs which they do not appreciate are wrong but which transgress honest standards of behaviour.

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