We recently defended successfully a complaint against a law firm to the SRA made by an opponent in litigation alleging that our clients had a conflict of interests.

A recent case on this point, FBME Bank Ltd v Dangate Consulting Ltd, involved an unsuccessful application by the defendant for an order that the Second and Third Claimants’ solicitors cease acting due to an alleged conflict with the First Claimant. Unless the Court is given cogent evidence of a conflict, it should and does trust solicitors to police their own professional obligations. In any event, the Court does not have the means to look into privileged communications as the SRA would do if, after a full trial, the trial judge thought that there was something meriting the regulator’s attention. If any conflict did arise, though one was not found, on the facts it would have been historic, because the solicitors were no longer acting for the First Claimant.

Note that the Court of Appeal decision in Hood Sailmakers Ltd v The Berthon Boat Company Ltd was not cited. Both decisions can be found on www.legalrisk.co.uk/Conflicts.

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