Souped up conduct rules commence in England

The English have promulgated a new set of professional conduct rules for solicitors, which commence tomorrow. Here they are, and here’s a Law Society page with associated resources. I have only scanned them, but they seem to be beautifully written: clear, detailed, without unnecessary complexity, and graced by helpful commentary. Some of them seem sensibly to record stuff that probably doesn’t strictly need to be in rules of this kind, but which it is very sensible to include. As a professional negligence lawyer, I would love it if our solicitors’ rules said this, as clearly as this:

‘2.01 Taking on clients

(1) You are generally free to decide whether or not to take on a particular client. However, you must refuse to act or cease acting for a client in the following circumstances:

(a) when to act would involve you in a breach of the law or a breach of the rules of professional conduct;

(b) where you have insufficient resources or lack the competence to deal with the matter;

(c) where instructions are given by someone other than the client, or by only one client on behalf of others in a joint matter, you must not proceed without checking that all clients agree with the instructions given; or

(d) where you know or have reasonable grounds for believing that the instructions are affected by duress or undue influence, you must not act on those instructions until you have satisfied yourself that they represent the client’s wishes.

(2) You must not cease acting for a client except for good reason and on reasonable notice.’

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