The Practical Lawyer


Costs – estimates

The 2007 Code of Conduct says:

‘You must give your client the best information possible about the likely overall cost of the matter both at the outset and when appropriate, as the matter progresses.’ (2.03).
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Undertakings – reminders

An excellent note from the Zurich makes the point that a solicitor who gives a financial undertaking is effectively pledging the firm’s credit and acting as guarantor for the client.

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Client – ending the retainer

A recent High Court decision has made it clear that you cannot cease acting for a client merely because the client has rejected your advice. According to the High Court:

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Client interest – VAT

How do you treat surplus interest on client money for VAT purposes? If you treat it as ‘exempt’ income then you could be eligible for a VAT refund.

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Professional – update

The Law Society will not be creating a category of ‘affiliate’ members (although only 12% of solicitors voted); see [2008] LSG 30 October 3.

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Europe – claims

Two pieces of legislation should make it easier to deal with small claims in EU countries:

  • the European Order for Payment comes into force on 12 December (see CPR78 and PD78).
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SFO – reporting client fraud

We all know there are a few, limited circumstances where solicitors are legally obliged to provide information to the regulatory authorities (eg Proceeds of Crime Act, Terrorism Act). Subject to such exceptions, the overriding principle is that there is a duty of confidence to the client.

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SRA – advice

If you have the misfortune to be investigated by the SRA, then the key advice is:

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Solicitors – banking collapse

The Law Society has updated its banking crisis Practice Note (as at 8 January). Most of it will be familiar to practitioners by now but it is important to check that all clients are now told in writing:

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Retainer – hopeless case

You cannot terminate your client’s retainer just because you think the case is hopeless.

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