Closed Consultation

Conflict and confidentiality rules – proposed amendments

1 April 2009

The deadline for submission of responses to this consultation was 31 March 2009. Analysis of consultation responses is in progress.

You can download a report (PDF 6 pages, 59K) on responses to the consultation on conflict and confidentiality.

The information below is for reference purposes only.

Proposed amendments to rule 3 (conflicts of interest) and rule 4 (duties of confidentiality and disclosure) of the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007

Our Rules and Ethics Committee invites views on proposals for amending rule 3 (conflict of interests) and rule 4 (duties of confidentiality and disclosure) of the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007. The proposals are not mutually dependent, and one could be adopted without the other.

The proposal to amend rule 3 would increase the exceptions under which firms can act for sophisticated clients with conflicting interests where the clients give informed consent. It represents a significant extension of the circumstances in which a law firm might act for two clients whose interests conflict in a particular matter and could involve, for example, two teams in the same firm conducting negotiations with each other. The amendment to rule 4 would extend the circumstances in which information barriers can be used without the consent of the client whose confidential information is being protected.

Although the amendments are of primary concern to those who act for sophisticated clients, their potentially broad effect means that we welcome comments from all practitioners, clients, academics, regulators and other professions. We are particularly keen to have views from in house lawyers and private practitioners representing large companies and public bodies and from those who have experience of the practical operation of conflict rules in other jurisdictions.

Downloadable document(s)