The Solicitors Regulation Authority is investigating almost 120 cases of alleged sexual misconduct, following a surge in reporting over the past six months. The regulator said it has 117 cases related to sexual misconduct still to deal with, including 36 new incidents since November. This figure has risen steeply over the past two years. In October 2018 the SRA told the House of Commons women and equalities committee it had 50 ongoing cases, while 63 were referred to the regulator in 2019.
Despite the growing number of sexual misconduct cases reported to the SRA, however, only seven were referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in 2019, five of which have now concluded. Just one case has been referred to the tribunal so far this year.
One such case was the SRA’s high-profile prosecution of Baker McKenzie and three former executives which ended last week. The tribunal found that a former London managing partner, Gary Senior, had committed serious professional misconduct in 2012 and had improperly sought to influence the subsequent investigation.
All allegations against the firm, former partner Thomas Cassels and former HR director Martin Blackburn were found not proved. A third allegation against Senior – that he failed promptly or at all to report his conduct to the SRA – was also found not proved.