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The CODE Chapter 1: Client Care Accepting instructions You are generally free to decide whether or not to take on a particular client, provided you don't unlawfully discriminate. There are a number of situations where you CANNOT accept instructions:
O(1.3) - where acting would involve a breach of the law or breach of the Code: o
Conflict of interests
Suspected money laundering/terrorism financing
O(1.4) - where you have insufficient resources or skills to carry out the instructions. o
O(1.5) - if the matter is outside your expertise or if you are too busy/or unable to take on the matter in the timescale required by your client.
Instructions given by someone else O(1.2) - you must protect the client's interests in a matter.
IB(1.25) - Where instructions are given by somebody other than the client, you cannot act UNLESS you are satisfied that the person given instructions has the authority to do so on behalf of your client. o
When you are acting jointly for two/more clients but instructions are only given by one client, you cannot act UNLESS you are satisfied the person giving instructions has authority as above.
SITUATION: if someone purports to act on behalf of a company. Ask for a copy of the resolution of the board of the company authority the person to act in their capacity. Undertake a CH search of the company to verify the person is a director, or check the company's website.
IB(1.28) - you cannot act where you have reasonable grounds for believing that instructions are affected by duress/undue influence without satisfying yourself that they reflect the client's instructions (this could happen in a marital situation - particularly where the marital home is being used as a security for a husband's business loan).
Client Care Letters General Outcomes
* O(1.1) - in order to treat your client fairly and reduce the chance of complaint, it is recommended you send a CCL setting out the terms and conditions under which you are acting.
O(1.2) - provide services which protect their interests in their matter
O(1.5) - provide a competent service to the client
O(1.7) - inform clients whether and how your services are regulated
O(1.12) - ensure you that your clients are in a position to make informed decisions about the services they need and the options available to them.
General Indicative Behaviours
* IB(1.1) - agreeing an appropriate level of service with your client (e.g. frequency of communications).
IB(1.2) - explaining your/the client's responsibilities.
IB(1.3) - ensuring your client is told in writing the name and status of the person dealing with their matter and the name/status of the person supervising.
IB(1.4) - explaining any arrangements such as fee sharing or referral arrangements.
IB(1.5) - explaining any limitations or conditions on what you can do.
IB(1.6) - having proper regard to your client's mental capacity/vulnerability (e.g. do you require a translator?)
* O(1.6) - you should only enter fee arrangements which are legal and which you consider suitable for the client's needs - taking into account their best interests.
O(1.13) - ensure your clients receive the best possible information both at the time of engagement and during the progress of the matter about the likely overall cost.
O(1.14) - ensure clients are also made aware of their right to challenge/complain about the bill and when they may be liable to pay interest on an unpaid bill.
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