In our May 2020 Risk Update we addressed the question whether general knowledge of a client’s strategy, policies and procedures constitute ‘related matters’ can be sufficient to prevent a firm from acting on the basis that they have confidential information. We mentioned an American case involving insurance defence lawyers. Another such case followed in quick succession, Plein v. USAA Cas. Ins. Co., No. 97563-9 (Wash. May 21, 2020.) It was held that for disqualification, the prior matter had to involve confidential factual information, which was not the case here.
In a contested Court of Protection application for appointment of a Deputy, the court addressed the fact that the solicitor applicant would charge for her services and instruct her own firm in relation to legal proceedings, creating a possible conflict of interest but considered that this was manageable under a well-established process and is a regular and accepted part of Court of Protection proceedings. See KKL Executor & Trustee Company Ltd v Harrison  EWCOP 25.
In SRA v Mawbey-Shaw and Law Offices UK Ltd 12037-2019, a judgment of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on an agreed outcome, allegation 3 against the respondent solicitor was that he acted for buyer and sellers in multiple conveyancing transac-tions. The buyer was a company in the business of purchasing private property via quick sales at discount prices. According to the First Respondent, the properties in question were usually “blighted” in some way (e.g. defective title; adverse surveyor’s report), or a quick sale was needed or desired (e.g. because it was a probate property). The discount was typically in the region of 30% on the market value. (The first part of the agreed outcome concerns an unrelated allegation relating to investment schemes, on which there have been several other recent decisions.) A fine of £17,500 was imposed, with restrictions on practice and costs of £36,650.‹ Back to Publications