Editorial policy of Out-Law.com
Out-Law, a service from Pinsent Masons LLP, respects the highest standards of editorial and ethical integrity.
The service was launched in May 2000 to provide useful information to organisations and to showcase the expertise of Pinsent Masons. We publish around 1,000 legal news stories each year and we maintain a few hundred legal guides. The service is currently used by more than 140,000 people every month.
This policy explains the five principles of our editorial approach.
1. We report news impartially and with balance - or not at all
We take great care to ensure that our reporting of news events in Out-Law News is accurate, fair and impartial. We do not write stories to promote the firm's clients. So, for example, if an important court ruling involves a client of the firm, we will report that ruling whether our client wins or loses. We will do so objectively and without bias.
Any opinions expressed in our news stories are attributed to individuals or organisations; they are not presented as though they are fact. If an event involves a client, it is unlikely that a lawyer in Pinsent Masons will express an opinion in our story about that event.
2. Accuracy and accountability
We do our very best to make sure that everything we publish is accurate and we attach great importance to quality control. Every news story and legal guide is checked by a qualified lawyer before it appears on Out-Law.com.
We are accountable to our readers and we make it easy for anyone to contact us. If we learn that we have made a mistake, we will acknowledge it as soon as possible. For example, if we learn that a news story contains a material inaccuracy, we will correct it right away or remove it altogether. We will indicate at the top of the story that the page has been 'UPDATED' and we will explain the correction in a footnote. If a story is removed, the page will reflect that.
However, as our disclaimer makes clear, Out-Law's content does not constitute legal advice. It is intended to provide general information only. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.
3. Respecting clients' interests
Out-Law is part of Pinsent Masons – it is not a separate entity. Sometimes we decide that it will not be possible to report a story at all without upsetting a client – in which case we will not report the story at all. For example, we will not break stories that we consider detrimental to a client's interests. Nor will we ever pass such stories to other publications. If we are advising a client on a particular case or matter we will not cover that case in our news without that client's permission.
Sometimes a client will ask us to write about an event in Out-Law that concerns the client's business. We will do so only if it is an event that we would have reported without that client relationship. We will disclose our client relationship in such stories.
4. We share knowledge, not secrets
As a consequence of running Out-Law we sometimes become aware of legal developments before any other law firm. We may use that information to help clients if we can do so without breaching any duty of confidence (express or implied). Information does not flow in the other direction: nothing disclosed to Pinsent Masons in confidence has ever appeared in Out-Law.
5. We write in plain English
We target business readers who want to know about law; but we write in plain English, not legalese. We strive for clarity and precision in everything we do. This does not mean that we 'dumb down' the content on Out-Law. We cover some legal issues that are very complicated; we just work hard to present these issues in an accessible way.
Sometimes a subject will be of interest only to a very small group of readers. We endeavour to make the target audience clear from the headline.
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