The Practical Lawyer


LLP – duty of good faith

We all know that partners owe a duty of good faith towards the partnership as a whole, and also to their fellow partners. But, the rules are different for LLPs.

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Partner – retirement justified

The age discrimination legislation does not normally apply to employers who want to compulsorily retire employees at age 65 (provided the correct procedure is followed). But, that luxury is not available to partners, and a partnership trying to enforce a compulsory retirement age will have to objectively justify it on the basis that it is a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.

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Costs – estimates

We now have further High Court guidance on the importance of providing costs information and estimates to clients. The key point, of course, is that Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007 says ‘you must give your client the best information possible about the likely overall costs of a matter both at the outset and when appropriate as the matter progresses’. But, what does ‘best information possible’ mean?

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LLPs – personal liability

More than 13,000 law firms practice as LLPs (indeed, only four of the top 25 firms in the UK are traditional partnerships). The motivation, of course, is to cap liability, and avoid insurance-busting professional negligence claims. But, there are still ways in which a member of an LLP can be liable.

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Best endeavours – reasonable endeavours

’Best endeavours’ is more onerous than ‘reasonable endeavours’:

‘There may be a number of reasonable courses which could be taken in a given situation to achieve a particular aim. An obligation to use reasonable endeavours to achieve the aim probably only requires a party to take one reasonable course, not all of them, whereas an obligation to use best endeavours probably requires a party to take all the reasonable courses he can.’
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Bookmark – Solicitor’s Handbook

The Solicitor’s Handbook 2008 is a new publication from the Law Society. In effect, it is a modern replacement for the Guide to Professional Conduct.

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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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The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 follows the increasing number of assaults on emergency workers in the UK.  Read more...


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