Law Society to approve new conflicts rules

The Law Society Council is expected to finally approve new conflicts and confidentiality rules tomorrow (Wednesday 14 July), after nearly four years of consultation.

The new rules are expected to make it easier for City firms to deal with potential conflicts.

The paper before the council refers to the recent high-profile case involving Marks & Spencer and Freshfields, saying that: “With the new rules in place, Freshfields would not have been able to act for Philip Green without the consent of Marks and [sic] Spencer.”

The new rules are expected to set down a narrower definition of conflicts than current guidelines, and separate out matters of conflict, matters of confidentiality and duty to disclose confidential information.

Exceptions to the rule are made for situations where clients have a common goal. Information barriers, also known as Chinese Walls, will be permitted in cases where the client has given express and fully informed consent.