IF YOU ever require the use of a solicitor, then it is important to know what their responsibilities are to you as a client.
The solicitor-client interaction is what is known as a fiduciary relationship.
“Fiduciary” means trust, so in this case one person (the client) places his or her confidence, good faith, reliance and trust in another (the solicitor), whose advice is sought in some matter.
A fiduciary relationship creates legal duties for the person in whom the trust has been placed.
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This means a solicitor must act honestly and fairly in their client’s best interests; act with due skill and diligence, reasonable promptness and courtesy; maintain a client’s confidences; avoid conflicts of interest; communicate effectively and promptly with clients; and follow a client’s lawful instructions.
Solicitors also owe duties to the court and the profession, which may sometimes be at odds with their duties to clients.
Clients usually have priority, but solicitors can’t act in a way that compromises the integrity of the law.