The Times has an article about a solicitor on the Board of the English legal regulator and former president of the Law Society who, rather embarrassingly, had a conflict of interest determination go against him after a disciplinary investigation. The solicitor acted pro bono for a barrister who was being sued by an Exxon subsidiary. He acted in an appeal from a Hong Kong court to the Privy Council, which succeeded. At the time of the appeal, the solicitor’s firm merged, and one of his new partners did some work for another Exxon subsidiary. The barrister complained later of a conflict of duties. The complaint was made out. Private Eye got a hold of the adjudication and was preparing to make merry with it when the solicitor applied for an injunction to prevent publication on the basis that it was confidential. That application failed, and so did the solicitor’s appeal. It is easy to say ‘bad, bad move’ with the benefit of hindsight, yet it is a difficult conclusion to escape, since none of the judges seem to have thought much of what I also consider to be an odd argument that a disciplinary adjudication was confidential to the complainant, the solicitor, and the Bureau de Spanque. Here is the decision of the English Court of Appeal’s Lord Justice Toulson with whom Lords Justice Sullivan and Hughes agreed: Napier v Pressdram Limited  EWHC 39 (QB).
- Freshfields partner gets whacked $140,000 over conflict of duties to concurrent clients
- Memories of law school
- Yet another implied waiver case: Paragon Finance Plc v Freshfields (a firm)
- A little precis of the law of non-lawyer professionals’ duties of confidentiality
- Justice Brereton’s latest professional negligence decision: failure to warn punter of commercial improvidence