RELATIONSHIP AND DEALINGS WITH CLIENTS
12. An advocate and solicitor shall use all reasonably available legal means consistent with the agreement pursuant to which he is retained to advance his clients’ interest.
13. An advocate and solicitor shall not undertake work in such a manner as to unnecessarily or improperly escalate his costs that are payable to him.
14. An advocate and solicitor shall at all times use his best endeavours to complete any work on behalf of a client as soon as is reasonably possible and if it becomes apparent to the advocate and solicitor that he cannot do the work within a reasonable time, he should so inform the client.
15. An advocate and solicitor shall not accept instructions if, having regard to his other professional commitments, he will not be able to discharge or carry out such instructions diligently and expeditiously.
16. An advocate and solicitor shall not accept instructions in a field of practice in which he possesses insufficient knowledge, skill or experience to provide competent representation to the client unless —
the advocate and solicitor is able, without undue delay and cost to the client, or unless the client is agreeable to bear any further cost necessarily incurred, to obtain such knowledge and skill either through study and research or through the association with him of another lawyer (whether within or outside the same jurisdiction) of established competence in that field; or
where access to the relevant body of knowledge or to a lawyer of competence in the field is not readily available, the advocate and solicitor informs the client of those facts and of the likely delay and cost in acquiring the requisite knowledge and skill and the client voluntarily consents to the advocate and solicitor acting in the matter.
17. An advocate and solicitor shall keep the client reasonably informed of the progress of the client’s matter.
18. An advocate and solicitor shall notify his client promptly of the receipt by him of moneys or securities on behalf of that client.
19. An advocate and solicitor shall expeditiously render statements of accounts if requested by the client.
20. An advocate and solicitor shall where possible —
promptly respond to the client’s telephone calls; and
keep appointments made with the client,
unless there are good and sufficient reasons why this cannot be done.
—(1) An advocate and solicitor shall explain in a clear manner, proposals of settlement, other offers or positions taken by other parties which affect the client.
(2) Where the client is not English speaking, the advocate and solicitor shall ensure that any offers or proposals of settlement are explained to the client in the language or dialect that he understands.
22. An advocate and solicitor shall not tender advice to a client when the advocate and solicitor knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that the client is requesting the advice to advance an illegal purpose.
23. An advocate and solicitor shall ensure that an agent giving instructions on behalf of a client has the required authority to do so and, in the absence of evidence of such authority, the advocate and solicitor shall, within a reasonable time thereof, confirm the instructions with the client.
—(1) An advocate and solicitor shall not in any way, directly or indirectly —
disclose any confidential information which the advocate and solicitor receives as a result of the retainer; or
disclose the contents of the papers recording such instructions,
unless with the consent of the client or is required by law or order of court.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), an advocate and solicitor may use the confidential information to reply or defend any charge or complaint as to his conduct or professional behaviour brought against him whether in Court or before a disciplinary tribunal of the Society.
25. During the course of a retainer, an advocate and solicitor shall advance the client’s interest unaffected by —
any interest of the advocate and solicitor;
any interest of any other person; or
the advocate and solicitor’s perception of the public interest except where accepting the instructions may make it difficult for him to maintain his professional independence or would make it incompatible with the best interests of the administration of justice.
26. In any case where the advocate and solicitor or any member of his family has an interest in any matter entrusted to him by a client, the advocate and solicitor shall —
make a full and frank disclosure of such interest to the client; or
if on the grounds of confidentiality or for any other reason the advocate and solicitor is unable to make such disclosure, decline to represent or withdraw from representing that client.
27. Where the interest of the advocate and solicitor or any member of his family is adverse to the interest of the client, the advocate and solicitor shall decline to represent or withdraw from representing the client, unless the client having been fully informed, and advised that he should seek independent legal advice, consents to the advocate and solicitor acting or continuing to act on his behalf.
28. When accepting instructions to act for more than one party in any commercial or conveyancing transaction where a diversity of interests exists between the parties, an advocate and solicitor shall advise each party of the potential conflict of interests and of the advocate and solicitor’s duty if such conflict arises.
29. When an advocate and solicitor or any member of his firm has acted for more than one party in the preparation of a document creating rights and obligations between them and a dispute in relation to the matter has arisen between them where the enforceability of the document is in dispute, or where the dispute is such that the advocate and solicitor is likely to be in conflict, the advocate and solicitor or any member of his firm shall not act for any party to the transaction in relation to that dispute.
—(1) An advocate and solicitor or any member of his firm shall decline to advise a person whose interests are opposed to that of a client he is representing on any matter and shall inform such person to obtain independent legal advice.
(2) If the person does not obtain such independent legal advice, the advocate and solicitor is under a duty to ensure that the person is not under an impression that his interests are protected by the advocate and solicitor.
—(1) An advocate and solicitor who has acted for a client in a matter shall not thereafter act against the client (or against persons who were involved in or associated with the client in that matter) in the same or any related matter.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1) —
the term "client" includes a client of the law firm of which the advocate and solicitor is a partner, an associate or an employee whether or not he handles the client’s work; and
this rule shall apply even where the advocate and solicitor concerned becomes a member of a different firm.
32. For the purposes of rules 33 and 34 —
“associated party” includes —
any member of the immediate family of the advocate and solicitor or of his partner or partners or of his employees; and
any corporation, partnership, syndicate, joint-venture or trust in which the advocate and solicitor or any member of his immediate family or any member of the immediate family of his partner or employee has or have any beneficial interest whether vested or contingent;
“client” includes any person who has an existing relationship of solicitor and client with the advocate and solicitor, any person defined as client in the Act, and includes any person seeking to invest money through an advocate and solicitor or approached by or on behalf of an advocate and solicitor for that purpose;
“excepted person” means any licensed or authorised banks, finance companies or any other similar corporation whose business includes lending money to members of the public;
“full disclosure” means such disclosure in writing by the advocate and solicitor as would be necessary if the transaction were a trustee transaction;
“immediate family” means a spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, sibling’s children, parent or grandparent;
“independent advice” means advice by an advocate and solicitor not being a party to the transaction nor representing any associated party and where the advocate and solicitor certified in writing that he has given such advice;
“prohibited borrowing transaction” means any transaction under or by virtue of which money or valuable security is borrowed (directly or indirectly and whether with or without security) by an advocate and solicitor from his client or by an associated party from that client unless the client is an excepted person.
33. Subject to rule 34, an advocate and solicitor shall not —
enter into a prohibited borrowing transaction;
instruct, procure, secure or arrange for an associated party to enter into a prohibited borrowing transaction; or
knowingly allow an associated party to enter into a prohibited borrowing transaction if it is within his power to prevent it.
34. Rule 33 shall not apply to any transaction in respect of which —
all parties thereto, other than the advocate and solicitor or the associated party, have received independent advice and the certificate referred to in rule 32 as to that advice has been given prior to the transaction being entered into; and the advocate and solicitor has made full disclosure of any interest of the advocate and solicitor and of any associated party;
the advocate and solicitor does not act for the client in relation to the transaction but the client is represented by an independent advocate and solicitor; or
the Council determines (either before or after the transaction is entered into) that it shall not apply to that particular transaction.
35. An advocate and solicitor shall inform the client of —
the basis on which fees for professional services will be charged and the manner in which it is expected that those fees and disbursements, if any, shall be paid by the client;
other reasonably foreseeable payments the client may have to make either to the advocate and solicitor or to a third party and the stages at which the payments are likely to be required;
the estimates of the fees and other payments, which shall not vary substantially from the final amount, unless the client has been informed of the changed circumstances in writing;
the fees may be subject to a limit which may be incurred without further reference and where the limit imposed on the fees is insufficient, the advocate and solicitor shall obtain the client’s instructions as to whether to continue with the matter; and
the approximate amount of the costs to date in every 6 months whether or not a limit has been set or deliver an interim bill in appropriate cases.
36. An advocate and solicitor shall, at the outset of a contentious matter and at appropriate stages thereafter, explain to the client the following:
that in any event the client shall be personally responsible for payment of his own solicitor and client bill of costs in full regardless of any order for costs made against the opponent;
that in the event the client loses, he will have to pay his opponent’s costs as well as his own; and
that even if the client wins, his opponent may not be ordered to pay the full amount of the client’s own costs and may not be capable of paying what has been ordered.
37. An advocate and solicitor shall not enter into any negotiations with a client for an interest in the subject matter of litigation nor, except to the extent permitted by any scale of costs which may be applicable, for remuneration proportionate to the amount which may be recovered by the client in the proceedings.
38. An advocate and solicitor shall not render a bill (whether the bill is subject to taxation or otherwise) which amounts to such gross overcharging that will affect the integrity of the profession.
39. An advocate and solicitor shall not share his fees with or pay a commission to any unauthorised person for any legal work performed.
40. An advocate and solicitor shall in appropriate cases evaluate with a client whether the consequence of a matter justifies the expense or the risk involved.
41. An advocate and solicitor shall permit a client to change his legal adviser at any time and shall, in the case where the outstanding fees are not agreed or paid, release all documents and offer any such assistance as may be necessary to enable any other advocate and solicitor instructed to take over the matter upon receiving an undertaking to protect his lien upon such documents.
—(1) Subject to rule 41, an advocate and solicitor may withdraw from representing a client —
at any time and for any reason if the withdrawal will cause no significant harm to the client’s interest and the client is fully informed of the consequences of withdrawal and voluntarily assents to it;
if the advocate and solicitor reasonably believes that continued engagement in the case or matter would be likely to have a serious adverse effect upon his health;
if a client breaches an agreement with the advocate and solicitor regarding fees or expenses to be paid by the client or regarding the client’s conduct;
if a client makes material misrepresentations about the facts of the case or matter to the advocate and solicitor;
if an advocate and solicitor has an interest in any case or matter in which the advocate and solicitor is concerned for the client which is adverse to that of the client;
where any other good cause exists.
(2) Where an advocate and solicitor withdraws from representing a client, he shall take reasonable care to avoid foreseeable harm to the client, including giving due notice to the client, allowing reasonable time for substitution of a new advocate and solicitor, co-operating with the new advocate and solicitor, and subject to the satisfaction of any lien the advocate and solicitor may have, promptly paying to the client any moneys and handing over all papers and property to which the client is entitled.
43. Where through conflict of interest, an advocate and solicitor has recommended to a client that the client seek alternative legal representation, the advocate and solicitor may charge for work done up to the time the advocate and solicitor becomes aware of the conflict of interest unless the conflict arises from the conduct of the client acting without or contrary to the advice of the advocate and solicitor.
—(1) Subject to the law on fiduciary relationship, an advocate and solicitor may purchase goods and assets from a client only if the purchase is at the prevailing market price or at such price as is reasonable.
(2) Where practicable, the advocate and solicitor shall obtain an independent valuation of such goods and assets.
46. Where a client intends to make a significant gift by will or inter vivos, or in any other manner, to an advocate and solicitor acting for him, or to any member of the advocate and solicitor’s firm, staff or his family or any of them, the advocate and solicitor shall not act for the client and shall advise the client to be independently advised in respect of the gift.
47. An advocate and solicitor shall treat his professional colleagues with courtesy and fairness.
—(1) An advocate and solicitor shall not, directly or indirectly, communicate with a client of another advocate and solicitor in the same transaction, except —
with the express approval of such other advocate and solicitor;
where it is not reasonably practicable to communicate with the other advocate and solicitor; or
where the interests of the advocate and solicitor’s client will be severely prejudiced if the communication is delayed.
49. An advocate and solicitor may give a second opinion with or without the knowledge of the first advocate and solicitor except that the second solicitor shall not improperly seek to influence the client to determine the first advocate and solicitor’s retainer.
50. An advocate and solicitor who finds, on receiving instructions, that acceptance of the instructions would amount to his replacing another advocate and solicitor who has previously been instructed in the same matter, shall inform the other advocate and solicitor that instructions have been given to him and advise the client to pay the outstanding costs, if any, of the other advocate and solicitor before accepting the brief.
51. An advocate and solicitor shall honour the terms of a professional undertaking given to another advocate and solicitor, a court of law, tribunal, client or any other person.
52. Except where otherwise agreed, an advocate and solicitor who instructs another advocate and solicitor, a consultant or an expert in any field or profession, to assist in or advise on a matter shall be responsible for the payment of the latter’s fee.