Paul Philip, new big cheese at the Solicitors Regulation Authority, was probably hoping to ease into his job by acquainting himself with the Cube’s phone system and the views of 130,000 regulatees. But his first monthly report to the board last week plunged straight into controversy: the matter of solicitors being spammed with official-looking emails.

Experts confirmed that the scammers are getting their data from public sources and not by hacking into the SRA’s system, but the regulator was forced to respond.

Philip told the board: ‘We had alerts online within an hour. We did think about sending warning emails to all firms, but given the nature of the problem we felt that was counterproductive.’