How to: sack a client | Feature | Law Society Gazette
to stand in a solicitor-client relationship with putative class members during the opt-out period . legal or other professional advice and readers should not act .. without repeated interruptions and breakdowns in the flow of. The relationship between solicitor and client is a contractual one. in all cases; a breakdown in trust and confidence; the client insisting the solicitor Richard Buxton, the firm's senior partner, says his advice is to start off with. The solicitor can't get rid of the client on a whim, but case law and practice rules would support it the following contexts; refusal to comply with.
The Supreme Court stated in R.
Cunningham that, when counsel seeks to withdraw for non-payment of fees, the court may refuse the request if the withdrawal would harm the administration of justice.
It is essential that lawyers request leave to withdraw at the earliest possible time, and that the client has reasonable notice to obtain other counsel.
#1 - Withdrawal as Counsel
Delay is the most frequent concern. For instance, a trial may be imminent, a deal closing or a limitation looming. In contrast, in R. Montgomery, the court refused a pre-trial application to withdraw where the accused had been in remand for over two years. There was no peril resulting from a change of counsel, nor did the accused represent that he would be unable to pay a new lawyer to take over this file.
In the face of a conflict of interest, a lawyer will be required to withdraw from a representation. However, a desire to accept a new, potentially lucrative, client does not provide good cause to withdraw from legal services of the current client. There may be many circumstances which entitle a lawyer to unfettered termination of the retainer. However, if the solicitor ceased acting some weeks before the court hearing this may be considered reasonable.
A useful rule of thumb, the SRA suggests, is how long it would take a new solicitor picking up this case from scratch to get up to speed — always assuming the client chooses to instruct a new solicitor. In conveyancing cases, reasonable notice can generally be given prior to exchange but it is more difficult to do so afterwards.
In a court setting, a solicitor could have to stop acting without any notice if they become aware the client is misleading the court.
When it comes to client care letters and terms of business, Law Society practice notes advise making sure the exact scope of the retainer is recorded to limit potential for dispute, as well as outlining the circumstances when you would terminate it and that fees would be payable up to that point. It also suggests noting that if the retainer is terminated without good reason then the solicitor may not be able to require the client to pay for work done up to that point.
In Richard Buxton Solicitors v Huw Llewelyn Paul Mills-Owens and the Law Society Intervener  EWCA Civthe Court of Appeal considered whether solicitors could terminate their retainer because they had been instructed to advance points that they considered to be unarguable and whether they were entitled to recover their profit costs.
But the Court of Appeal said the firm had good reason to stop acting, adding: If you detect difficulties with your client, sort them out at the earliest possible stage. If they do lead to you terminating the retainer, the reasonableness of doing that will partly depend on how close you are to a court hearing and what opportunity the client has to take other advice. But this can cause serious difficulties, Buxton says, simply because people have different views on arguability — and there are many cases that some may consider unarguable which ultimately succeed.
SRA | SRA Handbook - Code of Conduct - You and your client | Solicitors Regulation Authority
Following these steps will enable you to recover any outstanding costs and protect yourself from a counter-claim in breach of contract, he says. Set out the reasons as briefly and as clearly as possible; and suggest fresh terms for a new retainer where this is feasible — for example, no more phone calls at 8am, or arrangements about payments on account. State if any financial issue arises as one of those terms.
- Ending the Lawyer-Client Relationship
- Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007
- How to: sack a client
Lawyers do not need a client who impedes progress to his own trial — but to sack a client in the run-up to trial is a serious matter. In practice, I usually give the client a list of three competent firms or I will ring one and arrange to send the client to them with a letter confirming I have no objection to the transfer of legal aid to save time.
Firms will do that on a reciprocal basis. You would be committing economic suicide if you paid counsel fees yourself.