Client Confidentiality within Chambers
- These Guidelines are for use in circumstances where members of Brick Court Chambers are instructed on behalf of different parties or as arbitrator (etc) in cases involving other members of Chambers.
- The Guidelines are designed to assist barristers from being in breach of paragraph 603 of the Code of Conduct (confidentiality). They do not relate to the circumstances in which a barrister must, for reasons of professional embarrassment such as a conflict of interest, decline to accept a brief or instructions pursuant to paragraph 601 of the Code of Conduct.
In devising the system we concluded that consideration should be given to the following areas where a breach could occur:
- At the outset of litigation there may be a time when rival parties will not want the fact that they have taken legal advice to be known otherwise than to their advisers. We respect this confidentiality.
- In these circumstances each barrister must ensure that his/her clerk is aware of the fact and must inform his/her clerk when the position changes.
- In any event as soon as practicable both barristers should be told of each other’s involvement.
- Once both barristers have been informed, both sets of solicitors should be informed that they have instructed counsel in the same chambers.
- Solicitors should be informed of Chambers’ practice in such circumstances, to enable a client to decide if he wishes to continue to instruct the barrister in question.
- Clerks and solicitors should consider whether any variation of Chambers’ usual practice is necessary in the particular circumstances.
- We provide separate clerking where members appear against each other.
- Solicitors are informed so that they can deal with the relevant clerk.
- Care is taken to ensure papers are kept confidential to the barrister working on the case.
- Solicitors should be asked if they wish to use a code name for the case, to remove any indication on the outside of papers as to what matter they relate to.
- Where particularly sensitive documents are to be delivered, clerks make arrangements with solicitors to ensure security. We also maintain security by ensuring secure disposal by security vetted waste disposal contractors. We also shred confidential documents if it is thought appropriate so to do.
- We maintain secure electronic diaries.
- Individual diaries are not freely available for inspection by other barristers.
- Chambers does not publish a daily diary page.
- Where there is a fax machine in the barrister’s room, this will be used for incoming faxes. Those who have faxes in their rooms, have dedicated fax numbers.
- The main fax machines are in the clerks’ room. Arrangements will be made with solicitors for incoming faxes from one party to be received on one fax and for the opposing party on another.
- Where this is not practicable, solicitors are informed that all incoming faxes are received on one machine, to enable them to consider whether a particular document should be sent by fax.
- Barristers are told not to personally retrieve faxes and that clerks will ensure that all faxes are removed promptly from the fax machine and delivered to the barrister in the same way as other documents.
- Each barrister has a personal e-mail address.
- In most cases a barrister’s room is locked in his/her absence when confidential papers remain there.
- We are happy to discuss security measures tailored to specific client needs and concerns. A number of members of Chambers have safes installed in their rooms to store sensitive documentation.
Discussion amongst Members of Chambers
- Barristers on opposite sides will not discuss the case with each other, save on a formal basis.
- Counsel will exercise discretion in discussing the matter with any other members of Chambers or other clerks.
For further information please contact the clerks.