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Law Society issues practice note on conflicts as new regulatory regime looms

The Law Society has published a practice note on the approach to conflicts of interest that will be taken in the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s new Handbook, which is coming into force on 6 October.

Chancery Lane said: “This information on conflict of interests looks very different to that provided in the 2007 Code and, in line with outcomes-focused regulation, there is much less information and guidance.”

The practice note, which can be viewed here, covers issues such as:

  • What is own interest conflict and client conflict?
  • How do I assess if there is a conflict of interests?
  • Exceptions when you may act when there is a client conflict
  • Acting for a buyer and seller
  • Acting for clients who are the lender and borrower
  • Relations with third parties in a conveyancing transaction.

Outcomes-focused regulation will see a move away from a rules-based approach to one that focuses on high-level outcomes governing practice and the quality of outcomes for clients.

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The SRA Handbook includes a Code of Conduct (the SRA Code) that will replace the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007.

The Law Society said: “The outcomes as written maintain the current policy position on conflict of interests, but this has been written in the new outcomes-focused way. This may leave it open to practices to innovate and find new ways by which they might satisfactorily achieve the necessary outcomes in the SRA Code.”

Chancery Lane called on all solicitors to read the practice note.

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