We will turn down the chance to act for a client if there is a specific conflict of interests:
- where we already act for one client and are asked to act for another whose interests conflict or are likely to conflict
- where we hold confidential information of one client and could only act in the best interests of another by breaching our duty of confidence to the first
If our refusal to act would cause irreparable harm to a client, we will do the bare minimum required to preserve that client's position while alternative representation is found.
We would, however, be able to act in certain situations of pure 'commercial conflict', including:
- if we are asked to act for competing clients in offices in different countries
- if we are asked to perform wholly different types of work for competing clients in the same country
- if we are asked to perform bulk searching or renewals and do not have direct contact with, or provide substantive advice to, the ultimate client
In exceptional circumstances, we are happy to discuss restricting our actions when commercial conflicts arise. These will be for a finite period and will be approved internally and agreed in writing with our client. Such restrictions may be reviewed from time to time in light of changed circumstances, but any variations must be approved by us internally.
For all new matters we carry out an internal conflict check.
If there is any doubt, matters are specifically referred internally to the relevant Business Unit Head and Group Managing Director for guidance.