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Conflicts of Interest in the Family Division - new rules

The new code of conduct from the SRA (see link). Has the following:

3.01 Duty not to act
(1) You must not act if there is a conflict of interests (except in the limited circumstances dealt with in 3.02).

(2) There is a conflict of interests if:

(a) you owe, or your firm owes, separate duties to act in the best interests of two or more clients in relation to the same or related matters, and those duties conflict, or there is a significant risk that those duties may conflict; or

(b) your duty to act in the best interests of any client in relation to a matter conflicts, or there is a significant risk that it may conflict, with your own interests in relation to that or a related matter.

There is no exception to this. The point about Public Family Law conflicts is that the solicitors don't want to upset the Local Authority as they might otherwise find instructions dry up. I have seen a number of cases where there is evidence that the solicitors have acted to undermine their own clients. I cannot report these cases because that is a "contempt of court".

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