Instructing third parties—regulatory requirements
Instructing third parties—regulatory requirements

The following Practice Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Instructing third parties—regulatory requirements
  • Difference between instructing a third party and introducing a client to a third party
  • Equality and diversity
  • Evaluating third parties
  • Agreeing the choice of third party with the client
  • Third party's fees
  • Commission and financial benefits
  • Client's right to complain about barristers
  • How to instruct a third party
  • Educating your staff

This Practice Note explains the regulatory requirements that apply when you instruct an expert, barrister or other third party on your client’s matter. This is not the same as introducing your client to a third party, such as a financial adviser or other lawyer.

Difference between instructing a third party and introducing a client to a third party

Chapter 6 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 imposes specific obligations in relation to introductions to third parties. There is no definition of a third party, but the introductory notes to chapter 6 of the Code give the following examples:

  1. another lawyer

  2. a financial services provider

This suggests chapter 6 relates to referring or introducing your client to external third parties, rather than instructing third parties such as barristers or experts on behalf of your client as part of the matter you are handling for them. In practical terms, the difference is:

  1. where you instruct a third party on behalf of your client:

    1. you retain control of the matter on which you have instructed the third party

    2. you have overall responsibility for that matter

    3. the third party has a relationship with you rather than directly with the client

    4. the third party invoices your firm

  2. where you introduce the client to a third party:

    1. the third party advises the client independently of your