Jaques Law Office

Responsive

Reasonable

Effective

Professional Legal Services Relating to

Real Estate, Wills and Estates, and Small Business


Warning about Acting

for Both Sides in a Deal


Disclaimer

The following is no substitute for advice provided by a lawyer specifically for you. It is intended only to help you understand that advice. No responsibility is taken for any problems arising except due to paid legal advice.

©1996 Jaques Law Office. All Rights Reserved.



Explanation

While a client is normally entitled to total confidentiality from a lawyer, when a lawyer acts for two parties, it is the lawyer's duty to share the information among both clients. However, the lawyer may not use the information against either client, so if a conflict occurs, which requires court proceedings, the lawyer can't act for either side. The risk therefore, is that you must then get a new lawyer, and that new lawyer may have to repeat some work. Further, the other side may have already acquired some information.

Sometimes there is a conflict of interest in such cases. For instance, a seller wants high prices and a buyer wants low prices.

So, both parties must consent in order for a lawyer to act for both.

Ask your lawyer about the likelihood of a conflict, and about how serious a conflict would be. Ask what benefits would be obtained by using the same lawyer. In many cases, it is desirable to take the risk. For instance, in ordinary real estate conveyancing, we actually recommend that we act for both sides.

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Office Kevin Jaques, B.A., LL.B.
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