Queensland Law Society

Can I talk to the media about one of my cases?

This is dealt with by Rule 28 of the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules (ASCR). Rule 28 is in the ‘Advocacy and Litigation’ chapter of the Rules:

28. Public comment during current proceedings

28.1 A solicitor must not publish or take steps towards the publication of any material concerning current proceedings which may prejudice a fair trial or the administration of justice.

Of course, you must also have your client’s consent to disclose any confidential details – Rule 9 of the ASCR. You should also be alert to the danger of inadvertently breaching confidentiality by confirming or giving credence to details which, although apparently public knowledge, may have been until then of uncertain veracity.

Beyond the requirements of the rules, you should always consider obtaining your client or former client’s approval before making any public statement about their matter. Even if your comment only relates to details that are considered to be in the public domain, or no longer confidential, the client or former client may still see this as a betrayal of loyalty, or at least discourteous.

For an example of a solicitor’s breach of confidentiality in speaking to the media in the Schapelle Corby case, see Legal Services Commissioner v Tampoe [2009] LPT 14.