17 May Navigating Solicitor Conduct Rules
Did you know that practicing law and following solicitor conduct rules can be likened to driving a car? Before you drive out onto a road, you must first have the practical skill to work the car.
You must also have a sound knowledge of the rules and obligations that you must comply with. These rules and duties also apply in different ways to your passengers, other drivers, your insurer, and the RMS.
When a solicitor is admitted to practice law, they must have a sound understanding of legislation and case law, as well as the practical skill of applying law to their matters.
Communication with other parties
As solicitors, we have an obligation to follow a set of solicitor conduct rules. These solicitor rules are found in the Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitor’s Conduct Rules 2015, also known as ‘the rules.’
These Rules bind solicitors and dictate our duty, primarily to the Court, as well as our colleagues, clients, and parties on the other side in all our matter.
One interesting Rule is in relation to our communications with persons on the other side of our client’s matter. Say if your ex-partner has a solicitor, then we cannot correspond directly with your ex-partner.
Instead, we must liaise with their solicitor only. This rule works both ways, meaning that you cannot contact your ex-partner’s solicitor directly if you, yourself have legal representation.
This Rule aims to avoid the possibility or the perception that the solicitor has provided advice to someone other than their client, or of gaining an unfair advantage over the other party for our own client’s benefit.
Avoiding conflict of interest
Another fascinating solicitor conduct rule that we must follow, is that in Family Law we cannot act for both you and your ex-partner. Many separated parties harmoniously reach an agreement prior to contacting a solicitor. Often in these cases, the parties wish to attend their initial appointment together. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate this request.
Similarly, if we have acted for your ex-partner, or hold current instruction to act for them, even in a matter unrelated to family law, we may not be able to act for you.
This is to avoid a conflict of interest or even a perception of a conflict of interest and jeopardise a party’s position in relation to their property or children’s matter.
The team at Merridy Elphick Lawyers are committed to following solicitor conduct rules. Our experienced family lawyers can provide you with family law advice. Contact us today