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Verification of identity

Verification of identity

By LIV Ethics Committee

Ethics Legal Services 

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Ethical dilemmas are part of everyday practice for solicitors. The LIV Ethics Committee is available to help.

Litigation

R4925 – October 2017 — Conflict of Interest concerning former clients (ASCR 10)

A court may restrain a solicitor or law practice from acting against a former client if confidential information of the client (including “getting to know you factors”) obtained as part of the earlier engagement is put at risk. Acting against a company when a solicitor had previously acted on behalf of the owners of the company in one unrelated matter, does not of itself prevent the solicitor from continuing to act against the company.

Firm A acts for Company X in a VCAT dispute. Firm B acts for Company Y, the other party to the VCAT dispute. In April 2010 Firm B acted for the proprietors of Company X in relation to a personal guarantee which they were giving to a bank. There appears to be no direct relationship between that matter and the current VCAT dispute. Firm A has sought a ruling from the Ethics Committee that Firm B is conflicted in acting against the interests of the proprietors of Company X in the VCAT dispute. Firm B has denied that any conflict of interest exists.

Ruling

In the opinion of the Ethics Committee and on the information provided:

Firm B is not conflicted in continuing to act for Company Y in the current VCAT dispute.

 

 

The Ethics Committee is drawn from experienced past and present LIV Council members who serve in an honorary capacity. Ethics Committee rulings are non-binding. However, as the considered view of a respected group of experienced practitioners, the rulings carry substantial weight. It is considered prudent to follow them. The LIV Ethics website, www.liv.asn.au/Professional-Practice/Ethics, is regularly updated and, among other services, offers a searchable database of the rulings, a “common ethical dilemmas” section and information about the Ethics Committee and Ethics Liaison Group. For further information, contact 9607 9336.


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