If you ever require the use of a solicitor, it is important to know what each side must bring to the relationship.
The solicitor-client interaction is a fiduciary relationship.
“Fiduciary” means trust, so in this case the client places confidence and trust in their solicitor, whose advice is sought in some matter.
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.
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Solicitors also owe duties to the court and the profession, which can be at odds with their duty to a client. That means solicitors can’t act in a way that compromises the integrity of the law.
While a client is entitled to a high standard of legal advice and representation, there are a number of ways they should help their solicitor.
A solicitor needs information, so the client must provide full and clear instructions, as well as being honest and lawful (solicitors have a duty not to mislead).
A client should be prepared and also follow the solicitor’s instructions as quickly as possible.
The law is complex, so if there is any confusion the client should ask for an explanation as soon as possible.
Most important of all – trust. A solicitor is a trained professional and their advice is based on years of experience and training.