Semantics – how bankers and lawyers escape the law

I was recently told by a journalist that the Solicitors Regulation Authority ruling that Weightmans had “breached the rules” was no big deal and didn’t mean much for the purposes of a story. I find this very disturbing because the Solicitors Code of Conduct is based on the Solicitors Act 1974 and consists of a series of numbered rules. If a solicitor breaches one of the rules s/he breaks the law, acts unlawfully. It is not like school rules.

It occurred to me that solicitors breach the rules and bankers mis-sell, as in the PPI scandal. Arguably the mis-selling of PPI was simple fraud. In some cases the amount of (undisclosed) commission paid to the banks from the insurers was 85% of the premium paid.

It is because of these fine semantic subtleties that lawyers and bankers avoid more serious consequences of their actions. After all, thieves just steal.