Members of 11KBW are independent self-employed practitioners. As they do not work in partnership, they can act for different sides in a dispute and appear against one another in court.
Please note that it is a breach of professional conduct for a member of Chambers to refuse to accept instructions simply because another member had already been instructed to act for the opposing party.
When members are instructed on opposite sides in litigation or advise parties whose interests are in conflict, protecting our clients’ confidential information is our priority.
Disclosing if 11KBW is acting for an opposing party
We will not disclose a client’s identity or if a potential client is seeking legal advice from 11KBW in case it damages their interests. For this reason we do not volunteer to a potential client if another involved party has instructed one of our members.
If asked whether 11KBW has already been instructed in this matter by another party, we respond that we are unable to answer the question. We will give that response, whether or not another member of Chambers has been instructed. We will give the same answer to the opposing party if they ask. This makes sure client information remains confidential.
There are circumstances where we would share with an opposing party that another 11KBW member had been instructed in the matter. These include:
- If you confirmed you wanted the information to be disclosed
- The identity of the barrister had been made public in correspondence
- The barrister has been named in the litigation process in a document (such as a pleading)
- The barrister has been instructed to appear at a hearing.
Guarding against accidental disclosure of confidential information
When our members act for opposing parties we are diligent in making sure confidential information is not disclosed to the barrister acting on behalf of the other party.
To safeguard against accidental disclosure, we make sure the barristers are clerked by different clerks. We do this even if this means switching members from their usual clerk. To protect against a breach in confidentiality, members follow a stringent code of practice.
To prevent telephone calls being overheard, members work on such cases away from their usual place within Chambers, or we have spare rooms for such occasions. Also, they do not store papers in their usual place within Chambers. We can arrange for papers to be held in locked cabinets within 11KBW when they are not in use.
11KBW keeps information within instructions confidential to the member instructed and their clerk if appropriate. Please be aware this information may be shared with pupils and mini-pupils.
Pupils are bound by the Code of Conduct within the BSB Handbooks duties of confidentiality and all mini-pupils must sign an express confidentiality undertaking to cover material seen in Chambers.
Information may also be disclosed on a confidential basis to other members to progress the training and assessment of pupils and mini-pupils.
Trust in our confidentiality is paramount. To discuss confidentiality further, please contact Lucy Barbet and Mark Dann, Joint Senior Clerks, on 020 7632 8500.