A disabilities charity has publicly called on the Solicitors Regulation Authority to start a formal investigation into the conduct of public authority representative firm Baker Small.
The organisation, Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA) today released a statement almost a week after the tweets posted from the firm’s account last Saturday.
The tweets had appeared to gloat following a special education needs tribunal, with one saying it had ‘sent parents into a storm’. The Milton Keynes firm has apologised for the posts and pledged to take action to address the matter, but councils have already started to cut ties with the practice.
IPSEA makes a series of accusations about the conduct of Baker Small in its letter to the SRA.
It claims the firm breached the principle to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in solicitors, firstly through risking the identification of people involved in cases, and secondly through the ‘tone’ of the tweets.
The complaint also alleges that the firm may have breached specific provisions of the SRA code of conduct, including outcomes relating to protecting the interests of clients, complying with duties to the court and breaches of equality and diversity principles.
‘We would therefore ask you to consider taking action to formally investigate this firm and its actions, to ensure that public confidence in the profession and tribunal system generally can be restored,’ added the letter.
Contacted by the Gazette earlier this week, Baker Small's managing director and sole partner Mark Small emailed the following statement: ‘As solicitors we have to set high standards and my conduct was abhorrent in respect of tweets sent out on twitter. A self-referral to the SRA was immediately sent and is now being investigated.
‘I have apologised for the serious error of judgement on my part which was both provocative and hurtful to many. I deeply regret it and have issued two apologies and made a donation to a children’s charity.
‘I am passionate about the law in this area and a moment of red mist has done severe damage to my firm and reputation. I alone take full responsibility.’
An SRA spokesperson said: ‘We take all complaints seriously and will examine all the available evidence before deciding on an appropriate course of action.’