Ethical obligations of lawyers qualified to practise in England and Wales acting as legal representatives in international arbitration
Produced in partnership with Diarmuid Laffan of 4 New Square
Ethical obligations of lawyers qualified to practise in England and Wales acting as legal representatives in international arbitration

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Diarmuid Laffan of 4 New Square provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Ethical obligations of lawyers qualified to practise in England and Wales acting as legal representatives in international arbitration
  • The challenges of ethics in international arbitration
  • Common areas of tension
  • The main sources of ethical norms applicable to lawyers from England and Wales while acting in international arbitration
  • Concluding remarks

The question as to which ethical standards apply to English and Welsh lawyers (English and England are used for convenience) acting in international arbitration proceedings will depend on the specific circumstances of the arbitration in which they are instructed.

The most important factors for practitioners to consider are the following:

  1. the ethical rules of their professional regulator

  2. the ethical rules for lawyers and any relevant laws of the jurisdiction where their arbitration is seated or where they are performing work (such as taking witness statements) which is relevant to an arbitration seated somewhere else

  3. any rules or guidelines accepted to apply by the parties by agreement

  4. any rules imposed by any relevant arbitral institution or organisation

  5. measures taken by arbitral tribunals acting pursuant to an express or implied jurisdiction to regulate their procedure

This is a relatively uncertain area in which the applicable rules are not always easy to identify, and where the practitioner can be left without clear guidance, especially when subject to conflicting ethical norms emanating from different sources (sometimes referred to as the problem of ‘double-deontology’).

The purpose of this Practice Note is not to provide a definitive guide as to the ethical rules that apply to English arbitration lawyers in all scenarios. As will be seen below, that would be impossible in the present environment of international arbitration. It is