Lawyers in Cyprus and duty to act upon the instructions of the Client
Duty to act upon the instructions of the client
A lawyer in Cyprus may only act upon the instruction of the client, unless an instruction is received by another lawyer also acting on behalf of the client, on the basis of sufficient authorisation. In addition, a lawyer must provide the required legal advice and representation services to the client, within reasonable time and with due diligence. Furthermore, a lawyer must not take on a case if such a case is not within the ambit of the lawyers level of skill, unless the lawyer takes on the case jointly with another lawyer who has the necessary skill to do so. In such a case the client must provide written consent for the joint representation by the two lawyers. It is clearly stipulated in the regulations on the code of conduct applicable to lawyers in Cyprus, that a lawyer may not take on a case if it is not possible to handle the case within a reasonable amount of time, taking into account the circumstances of the case and any other obligations of the lawyer in relation to other clients’ cases. It is also stipulated that if a lawyer will no longer continue to provide service in relation to a specific case, the client will need to be afforded reasonable amount of time to seek the services of another lawyer, in order to avoid any potential harm to the client’s interests and rights.
Lawyers in Cyprus and Conflict of Interest
The regulations on the code of conduct applicable to lawyers in Cyprus, also cover matters regarding conflict of interest. A lawyer may not represent two or more clients involved in the same case (such as co-defendants), where there is a conflict of interest (or even a serious risk of such conflict to emerge in the process) between the clients, in respect of the line of argument or the outcome of the case. In addition, a lawyer must not accept to take on the representation of all potential clients in a case if there is a risk of breach of professional secrecy, or a risk of diminishing the lawyer’s ability to act independently. Furthermore, a lawyer may not ο take on the representation of a new client if there is a risk of a breach of confidentiality in respect of information entrusted to the lawyer by an existing or former client.
Before taking on the representation of a potential client, the lawyer must reveal to client any personal interest of the lawyer in the case at hand or the existence of any special relationship with the client’s counterparty in the case. Having received the above information, if the client still wishes to appoint the specific lawyer, then the lawyer may take on the client’s representation.
A lawyer must refuse to take on the representation of a client, if on the basis of a position held by the lawyer, it will be difficult for the lawyer to maintain professional independence in the course of the case. In case the lawyer is a director or secretary of a company or other type of legal entity, the lawyer must not take on the representation of the company as a client. The same applies even after resigning from such a position, if the material time or the facts of the case (in whole or in part), refer to a period of time before the resignation.
A lawyer must not take on a case when there is a direct or indirect personal interest of the lawyer in the specific case.
This article is given for information purposes only and it does not constitute legal advice.