The Law Society guidelines say there where solicitors inadvertently find themselves acting for both sides in a dispute, and hence a conflict of interest arises, that the solicitors involved should send both parties away to find alternative solicitors.That applies in all cases and being a godparent to one of the parties is not an exception. The reason for the rule is that the solicitors involved will be party to information from both sides which is confidential and would not ordinarily be disclosed to the other side in the dispute. The solicitor is not only making up the rules as he goes along but is ignoring the reason for the rule in the first place and I would threaten to report him to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority for misconduct .
I hope this helps. If there are any further points please reply
Thank you for the information. Does the above apply even if the solicitor says he is working for the client in his own time?
Could I ask another question?
In August last year the original solicitor sent my husband a letter to say that beneficiaries would receive their share of proceeds from the Will in September. When nothing further was heard my husband telephoned the solicitor only to find that there was another hold-up - that of the above.
Does the solicitor bear any responsibility for this?
To answer your first reply, it makes no difference because he has access to both files and is clearly using the firm to do his typing.The issue is twofold.Firstly a dispute is a clear conflict situation so the solicitor cannot act for both. Where the files have information on them which would not ordinarily be passed to the other side in a dispute then the solicitor must decline to act for both.
As far as your follow up question is concerned.If the dispute affecting the estate is likely to affect the amount left in the estate then the solicitors cannot distribute all the monies to the beneficiaries.If it is a large estate then they may be able to make partial payments, say, half now the rest when the dispute is resolved as an example
Very many thanks. This is very useful
You are welcome