Q&As

In care proceedings, the local authority sought a direction that the Parent A should not be given notice of the proceedings, and the court ordered that the Parent A would receive notice if they instructed solicitors, and for the court bundle to be redacted including details of the parties’ representatives. Parent B believes Parent A to be a threat to them and the children. The local authority has now provided Parent A’s solicitor with details of Parent B’s representatives in error. What steps can be taken to prevent that information being disclosed to Parent A by their solicitor?

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Produced in partnership with Ruth Cabeza of Field Court Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 26/04/2018

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Ruth Cabeza of Field Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • In care proceedings, the local authority sought a direction that the Parent A should not be given notice of the proceedings, and the court ordered that the Parent A would receive notice if they instructed solicitors, and for the court bundle to be redacted including details of the parties’ representatives. Parent B believes Parent A to be a threat to them and the children. The local authority has now provided Parent A’s solicitor with details of Parent B’s representatives in error. What steps can be taken to prevent that information being disclosed to Parent A by their solicitor?

A solicitor has duty to follow their client’s instructions and to act in the best interests of their client. However, solicitors are officers of the court and also have duties to the court. The first question is therefore whether a solicitor who is aware that the court has made directions to prevent them being provided with certain information is entitled to share said information with their lay client if it comes into their possession inadvertently.

A solicitor’s conduct is governed by the SRA Handbook, and their conduct must reflect the ten mandatory principles. This question engages the first six of the mandatory principles:

  1. uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice

  2. act with integrity

  3. not allow your independence to be compromised

  4. act in the best interests of each client

  5. provide a proper standard of service to your clients

  6. behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services

There is a potential conflict between principle 1 and principle 4, in that it is clear that the intention of the court when the directions were given was tha

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