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New Solicitor General faced previous censure for breach of Code of Conduct

It has been revealed by the Mail on Sunday that the newly-appointed Solicitor General, Conservative MP Robert Buckland, faced censure for a breach of the legal profession's Code of Conduct three years ago, reports the BBC.

Mr Buckland is a barrister by profession, but was appointed to the role of Solicitor General as part of a wide-ranging parliamentary reshuffle by Prime Minister David Cameron last week.

The Solicitor General for England and Wales is a government appointment as Law Officer of the Crown, and acts as a deputy to the chief Law Officer, the Attorney General. The job of the solicitor general is to advise the Crown and the Cabinet on legal matters.

However, it has now emerged that Mr Buckland faced professional censure three years ago, whilst practising as a barrister, for a breach of the professional Code of Conduct that applies to all legal professionals.

The revelations were made in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, which ran a story that Mr Buckland faced a tribunal in 2011 which concluded he had asked another barrister in 2008 to pass him case notes from a previous criminal trial, case notes to which Mr Buckland was not legally entitled.

Mr Buckland's senior, the Attorney General, admitted that Mr Buckland had been found guilty of the breach; however, he moved to play down the story, claiming that the breach was 'minor'.

"It is a matter of public record that in May 2011, Robert Buckland was found to have committed a minor breach of the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales," said a statement by a spokesman for the Attorney General's office.

"He was not suspended or fined and continued to practice and sit as a recorder," the statement continued.

Findings such as these are removed from lawyers' records after two years, which meant Mr Buckland was not required to disclose the information when he was appointed Solicitor General.

Labour said his appointment made a mockery of the post, and called on the Prime Minister to speak out to say whether he felt the appointment was appropriate.