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Time to legislate on mental health prevention

Turning current guidance into law may be the only way to make the legal profession tackle growing concerns over work-related stress and its effects on lawyers’ mental health, says Pippa Allsop

24 January 2019

Back in February 2017 I wrote an article about two junior solicitors who had both been struck off by the SRA within the space of a week of one another for dishonest acts committed ‘in the line of duty’ directly resulting from being under desperate levels of pressure to perform.

I concluded that, while there was no excuse for the actions of those solicitors in question, it takes real guts to admit a mistake and that “anyone who holds themselves out to be infallible is fallible for precisely that reason”.

More than a year and a half later and it seems that nothing has improved in the way of support for stress and resulting mental ill-health in the legal profession.

In a spate of three matters the High Court has recently made very clear that any acts of dishonesty cannot be excused by mental health issues, even when they are either wholly or in part induced by a stressful work environment.

The SRA...

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