Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2011
On 6th October 2011, the Solicitors’ Handbook, including the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct, with its emphasis on outcomes focussed regulation, came into force, replacing the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007.
The new code is guided by a set of core principles which solicitors are expected to adhere to at all times. In addition there are a series of ‘outcomes’ which are mandatory.
Client care is regulated by chapter 1 of the new Code, and outcome 1.13 is simply that:
“clients receive the best possible information, both at the time of engagement and when appropriate as their matter progresses, about the likely overall cost of their matter;”
How you achieve that outcome is up to you although the Code lists a series of ‘indicative behaviours’ which ‘would tend to show’ that the relevant outcome has been achieved. Unsurprisingly the indicative behaviours supporting outcome 1.13 are broadly similar to the content of Rule 2.03 of the 2007 Code.
It is notable that the requirement to provide costs information in writing has been removed. However, in our opinion, the sensible solicitor will continue as before, providing clear, written and regularly updated costs information, both to avoid trouble at a later date, and because it is generally cheaper and easier to continue doing something that to change the way in which a practice operates.