Recent amendments to the Rules and Handbook

Notification of suspension

Law Society Rule 4-37 has been amended to require suspended lawyers to disclose the fact of their suspension, its duration and their resulting unavailability to clients who would reasonably expect the lawyer to attend to their affairs during the period of suspension, or to current and prospective clients who enquire about the availability of suspended lawyers’ services during their suspension.

Rule 4-37(3) also directs a suspended lawyer to inform current and prospective clients of the arrangements put in place to protect clients’ interests during the time the lawyer will not be practising.

The lawyer as advocate and judicial interim release

The Benchers have amended Chapter 8, Rule 19 of the Professional Conduct Handbook to clarify the restrictions on a lawyer’s involvement in the securing of an accused’s judicial interim release. Rule 19 provides that a lawyer “must not act as surety for, deposit the lawyer’s own money or other security for or act in a supervisory capacity to an accused person for whom the lawyer acts.”

A new footnote to Rule 19 confirms that the rule does not apply when the accused and the lawyer are in a family relationship and a partner or associate of the lawyer represents the accused.