Conflicts: The Basics continued

The guiding principle is established in the BC Code, Chapter 2, subrule 2.1-3(b):

A lawyer should disclose to the client all the circumstances of the lawyer’s relations to the parties and interest in or connection with the controversy, if any, which might influence whether the client selects or continues to retain the lawyer. A lawyer shall not act where there is a conflict of interests between the lawyer and a client or between clients.

Chapter 3, rules 3.4-1 and 3.4-2 of the BC Code provide that as a general principle:

  • the lawyer owes each client a duty of undivided loyalty;
  • a lawyer may act for clients adverse in interest in certain circumstances;
  • with informed client consent, a lawyer may represent clients in circumstances that in the future might give rise to divided loyalties.

The BC Code, Chapter 2, subrule 2.1-3(g) provides as follows:

A lawyer should not, except as by law expressly sanctioned, acquire by purchase or otherwise any interest in the subject-matter of the litigation being conducted by the lawyer. A lawyer should scrupulously guard, and not divulge or use for personal benefit, a client's secrets or confidences. Having once acted for a client in a matter, a lawyer must not act against the client in the same or any related matter.