Koch Shipping Inc v Richards Butler (a Firm): CA 22 Jul 2002

The claimants in an arbitration sought orders with regard to a solicitor who had moved to the opponent’s firm of solicitors, but who came with privileged knowledge of the claimant’s business dealings. She offered undertakings, but the claimant viewed these as inadequate. The respondent firm of solicitors appealed an order to withdraw from the action.
Held: Each such case must turn on its facts. Here there was no reason to doubt the high professionalism, skills and integrity of the solicitor in question. The situation differed from that in Bolkiah. It was fanciful to imagine her inadvertently letting something slip to the detriment of the claimant.
Tuckey LJ warned that: ‘In these days of professional and client mobility it is of course important that client confidentiality should be preserved. Each case must depend on its own facts but I think there is a danger inherent in the intensity of the adversarial process of courts being persuaded that a risk exists when, if one stands back a little, that risk is no more than fanciful or theoretical. I advocate a robust view with this in mind so as to ensure the line is sensibly drawn.’
Lord Justice Ward, Lord Justice Tuckey and Lord Justice Clarke
Times 21-Aug-2002, Gazette 26-Sep-2002, [2002] EWCA Civ 1280, [2002] 2 All ER Comm 957, [2002] 1 PNLR 603, [2002] Lloyd’s Rep PN 604
England and Wales
CitedPrince Jefri Bolkiah v KPMG (A Firm) HL 16-Dec-1998
Conflicts of Duty with former Client
The House was asked as to the duties of the respondent accountants (KPMG). KPMG had information confidential to a former client, the appellant, which might be relevant to instructions which they then accepted from the Brunei Investment Agency, of . .
CitedYoung, Young, Irby v Robson Rhodes and Frank Attwood ChD 30-Mar-1999
Where a merger was proposed between two accountancy firms, who had provided litigation support services to opposing sides in a case, it was necessary to separate the two halves most rigorously including physical separation in order to ensure no . .

Cited by:
CitedGUS Consulting Gmbh v Leboeuf Lamb Greene and Macrae CA 26-May-2006
The claimant brought an action to restrain the lawyer defendants from acting in arbitration for having previously acted for other parties.
Held: The claimant’s appeal for an injunction failed. Following Bolkiah, the burden on the defendants . .
CitedWinters v Mishcon De Reya ChD 15-Oct-2008
The claimant sought an injunction to prevent the defendant firm of solicitors acting for his employers against him. He said that they possessed information confidential to him having acted for him in a similar matter previously. The solicitors . .
CitedStiedl v Enyo Law Llp and Others ComC 18-Oct-2011
The applicant, defendant in the main proceedings, sought an injunction to restrain the solicitors from acting for the claimant and from making any use of documents which had come into their privileged possession whilst acting for him. . .
CitedCaterpillar Logistics Services (UK) Ltd v Huesca De Crean QBD 2-Dec-2011
The claimant sought an order to prevent the defendant, a former employee, from misusing its confidential information said to be held by her. Her contract contained no post employment restrictions but did seek to control confidential and other . .
CitedAlbion Plc v Walker Morris (A Firm) CA 19-Mar-2006
The court was asked whether defendant firm of solicitors should be prevented from acting for potential conflict of interest. They sought leave to appeal an order restraining them from acting. They had acted in two similar matters for the client . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 04 June 2021; Ref: scu.174716