Elderly clients and a solicitor's duties
Elderly clients and a solicitor's duties

The following Private Client practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Elderly clients and a solicitor's duties
  • The contractual relationship
  • Obligations in tort
  • Third parties
  • The threefold test
  • The incremental test
  • The assumption of responsibility test

Within any department of a firm there has to be an awareness of the duties of the legal adviser. However, there is a greater need to be aware of those duties when dealing with elderly clients as they can be far more vulnerable than many others (though, of course, there is no excuse for the practitioner not regularly reminding themselves of what they have to comply with when dealing with all clients).

In essence, the practitioner has to be aware of their potential liabilities both in contract and in tort. Their duties reflect these general areas of obligations and are supplementary to the core client care duties of a solicitor as set out in the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019.

The contractual relationship

The prime relationship between a client and their solicitor is one of contract, generally set out in a retainer letter. What can and cannot be contracted to is partly governed by cases, the Solicitors Act 1974 (SA 1974) (now heavily and in places confusingly amended) and the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019. SA 1974 deals with the possible content of the contract and the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019 deals with the more general regulation of the profession.

So far as the contractual relationship is concerned, as long as the terms of same are in accordance with SA 1974 and do not breach the Standards

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