Regulator drops probe into ex-Freshfields partner’s review of rape allegation at UBS

Magic Circle UK firm welcomes closure with no further action of long-running SRA investigation

The UK’s Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has closed an investigation into former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Caroline Stroud’s handling of a review of a sexual harassment case at UBS.

Details of the The SRA’s probe into the conduct of Stroud, who retired last year, first emerged in August 2020. According to the Financial Times, it concerned claims by the complainant’s legal team that Stroud ‘did not make her role as UBS’s lawyer clear’ during her review of how the bank had dealt with allegations made by the employee in 2017 that she had been raped by a colleague.

"We have looked at all the available information and decided to close the matter with no further action,” an SRA spokesperson said. “If further information is made available, we can look again at the issues."

Welcoming the news, Freshfields said in a statement that it was ‘pleased to confirm that following a thorough review, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has completely exonerated Caroline Stroud’. 

The firm added: ‘Caroline is an outstanding employment litigator who has built a renowned reputation as one of the best in her field over her long career.’ 

In a statement to the FT, the complainant – referred to as Ms A in court documents – acknowledged the SRA’s decision but added that she looked forward ‘to sharing my experience — in my upcoming book’.

Stroud retired from Freshfields last year in a move that was unrelated to the SRA probe. She is highly-rated by the Chambers & Partners directory and held an array of senior roles at the firm during her career, including global head of employment, pensions and benefits.

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