Precedent letters added to Handbook for guidance in joint retainers

What to say when you act for more than one client

Lawyers who jointly represent two or more clients must comply with the provisions of Chapter 6 of the Professional Conduct Handbook to ensure those clients understand the meaning of joint representation and also consent to a course of action should the lawyer receive from one client confidential information relevant to the representation or should a conflict arise.

Some lawyers are not complying with the Handbook provisions, which has resulted in the Discipline Committee ordering a number of recent conduct reviews.

To assist lawyers, the Benchers have adopted a recommendation from the Ethics Committee to add to the Handbook two precedent letters that are suitable for lawyers to send to clients in joint representations and can be tailored to individual circumstances.

These letters are set out for reference in a new Appendix 6 as part of the April, 2000 Member’s Manual amendment package.