New practice rule is a step forward

I am puzzled by Marlene Winfield's attack on the new costs information rule in her article, "Too many loopholes spoil the rules" (The Lawyer, 27 September 1999).

The new Practice Rule 15 is a significant step forward for consumers and was written following consultation with the National Consumer Council.

Many of the points she raises are wrong. Solicitors have always been required to act in the best interests of their clients. That is Practice Rule One and overrides any other consideration. Practice Rule One is supplemented with the statement that solicitors must "consider the interests of each client". It is not replaced by it.

It is not sad that "most solicitors will not have to do anything" to implement the new system. Most solicitors already give the information required by the rule. Surely this is something that the National Consumer Council should be happy about.

Robert Sayer, President of the Law Society