(New Zealand) No duty of wisdom is owed to client in full command of his faculties by a lawyer. If the client requires only action from his lawyer, that is what is required. Informed consent can be sufficient to allow a solicitor to act for two parties even if there may be a conflict: ‘When a client in full command of his faculties and apparently aware of what he is doing seeks the assistance of a solicitor in the carrying out of a particular transaction, that solicitor is under no duty whether before or after accepting instructions to go beyond those instructions by proffering unsought advice on the wisdom of the transaction.’ and ‘There is no general rule of law to the effect that a solicitor should never act for both parties in a transaction where their interests may conflict. Rather is the position that he may act provided that he has obtained the informed consent of both to his acting. Informed consent means consent given in the knowledge that there is a conflict between the parties and that as a result the solicitor may be disabled from disclosing to each party the full knowledge which he possesses as to the transaction or may be disabled from giving advice to one party which conflicts with the interests of the other.’
Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle: ‘Their Lordships are accordingly satisfied that Mrs Mouat required of Mr Boyce no more than that he should carry out the necessary conveyancing on her behalf and explain to her the legal consequences of the transaction. Since Mrs Mouat was already aware of the consequences if her son defaulted Mr Boyce did all that was reasonably required of him before accepting her instructions when he advised her to obtain and offered to arrange independent advice. As Mrs Mouat was fully aware of what she was doing and had rejected independent advice, there was no duty on Mr Boyce to refuse to act for her. Having accepted instructions he carried these out properly and was neither negligent nor in breach of contract in acting and continuing to act after Mrs Mouat had rejected his suggestion that she obtain independent advice. Indeed not only did Mr Boyce in carrying out these instructions repeat on two further occasions his advice that Mrs Mouat should obtain independent advice but he told her in no uncertain terms that she would lose her house if Mr R.G. Mouat defaulted. One might well ask what more he could reasonably have done.
When a client in full command of his faculties and apparently aware of what he is doing seeks the assistance of a solicitor in the carrying out of a particular transaction, that solicitor is under no duty whether before or after accepting instructions to go beyond those instructions by proffering unsought advice on the wisdom of the transaction. To hold otherwise could impose intolerable burdens on solicitors.’
Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle
Independent 12-Oct-1993, Times 07-Oct-1993, Gazette 03-Nov-1993,  1 AC 428,  UKPC 34
England and Wales
Cited – Farrington v Rowe McBride and Partners 1985
(New Zealand) When a solicitor acts for two clients and there is a conflict in his responsibilities, the solicitor must ensure that he fully discloses the material facts to both clients and obtains their informed consent to his so acting. There may . .
Cited – Pickersgill and Another v Riley PC 25-Feb-2004
PC (Jersey) The solicitor appealed a finding of negligence. He had failed to advise his client when he acted as a guarantor for a proposed assignee of a lease that the company may be a shell company. It had been . .
Cited – Hilton v Barker Booth and Eastwood HL 3-Feb-2005
The claimant had instructed the defendant solicitors to act for him, where he was to contract with another client of the same solicitor in a land development. The solicitor failed to disclose that the other client had convictions for dishonesty, and . .
Cited – Burkle Holdings Ltd v Laing TCC 23-Mar-2005
The parties had each instructed the same solicitor, but now disputed the entitlement of the other to see documents held by the solicitor. . .
Cited – The Football League Ltd v Edge Ellison (A Firm) ChD 23-Jun-2006
The claimants operated football leagues, and asked the defendant solicitors to act in negotiating the sale of television rights to ONdigital. The broadcasts went ahead, but no guarantees were taken for the contract. The claimants alleged . .
Cited – Credit Lyonnais Sa (A Body Corporate) v Russell Jones and Walker (A Firm) ChD 2-Jul-2002
The claimant sought damages for professional negligence against the defendant solicitors. A corporate lawyer had been assigned to deal with a property matter, and he had failed to appreciate the need to comply strictly with time conditions in a . .
Cited – Phelps v Stewarts (A Firm) and Another ChD 2-Jul-2007
The claimant sought damages for the negligent drafting of a deed of trust, saying that he had not been advised of a charge to tax which would arise. The defendant said that her duties were limited, and did not include advice on this point, having . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Negligence, Legal Professions, Commonwealth
Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.79183