17. Independence - avoidance of personal bias
- A solicitor representing a client in a matter that is before the court must not act as the mere mouthpiece of the client or of the instructing solicitor (if any) and must exercise the forensic judgements called for during the case independently, after the appropriate consideration of the client’s and the instructing solicitor’s instructions where applicable.
- A solicitor will not have breached the solicitor’s duty to the client, and will not have failed to give appropriate consideration to the client’s or the instructing solicitor’s instructions, simply by choosing, contrary to those instructions, to exercise the forensic judgements called for during the case so as to:
- confine any hearing to those issues which the solicitor believes to be the real issues;
- present the client’s case as quickly and simply as may be consistent with its robust advancement; or
- inform the court of any persuasive authority against the client’s case.
- A solicitor must not make submissions or express views to a court on any material evidence or issue in the case in terms which convey or appear to convey the solicitor’s personal opinion on the merits of that evidence or issue.
- A solicitor must not become the surety for the client’s bail.
This Guidance Statement outlines some of the issues solicitors should consider if they are asked to act for family or close friends.