May 2019
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Oswald Hickson Collier & Co (a firm) v Carter Ruck; HL 1984

References: [1984] AC 720, [1984] 2 All ER 15
A firm is a partnership of two or more persons and a one man practice is not a firm.
Lord Denning MR said: ‘It was submitted by Mr Cullen that – as the relationship between a solicitor and his client is a fiduciary relationship – it would be contrary to public policy that he should be precluded from acting for a client when that client wanted him to act for him: especially in pending litigation. It seems to me that that submission is right. I cannot see that it would be proper for a clause to be inserted in a partnership deed preventing one of the partners from acting for a client in the future. It is contrary to public policy because there is a fiduciary relationship between them. The client ought reasonably to be entitled to the services of such solicitor as he wishes. That solicitor no doubt has a great deal of confidential information available to him. It would be contrary to public policy if the solicitor were prevented from acting for him by a clause of this kind.’
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Rogers, Re In the Estate of ChD (Bailii, [2006] EWHC 753 (Ch), Times 03-May-06, [2006] 2 All ER 792, [2006] 1 WLR 1577)
    The deceased appointed partners in a firm of solicitors to act as her executors. The firm merged into a limited liability partnership. The partners in the new firm appeal against refusal of the court to grant probate, the probate registrars having . .

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