The judgment in Metcalf v SRA [2021] EWHC 2271 (Admin) provides an opportunity to reconsider the meaning of the legal concept of wilful or Nelsonian blindness and its application to criminal law. In this case the SRA submitted that the solicitor, M, had acted dishonestly because that he had chosen to ignore the dubious nature of transactions that he had facilitated. This SDT agreed with the SRA. M appealed to the High Court. Amongst his several grounds of appeal, he submitted that (a) in principle, blindness was akin to ignorance, and ignorance ought not to be deemed a sufficient ground for a finding of dishonesty; and (b) as a matter of evidence the drawing of adverse inferences from an omission, M’s failure to enquire abou...

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