Queensland Law Society

Who owns the client file where there has been a joint retainer?

Where we act for more than one client in a matter, client documents (e.g. instructions, briefs, drafts, copies made for the client’s benefit of letters received, file notes made for the client’s benefit and the client is charged for their preparation) belong to all the clients jointly.

Copies of such documents can only be given to a third party with the consent of all clients. The original client documents can only be given to one client with the consent of the other clients. Each client is entitled to a copy of the relevant jointly-owned documents at their own expense.