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You are acting for two sisters who, with a third sister, were appointed as executors of their late mother’s Will.  Another solicitor is acting for the third sister.  Like many family feuds this one has survived the mother’s death and has spilled over into the administration of her estate. It all started to go wrong when your clients attended their late mother’s home and removed chattels including items of jewellery.  There are other beneficiaries under the Will.  What might you advise your clients to do to break the deadlock?

You are acting for a vendor in a commercial property conveyancing transaction. When you receive the settlement adjustment statement from the purchaser’s solicitors you notice that an arithmetical error of $986 has been made in your client’s favour in one of the adjustments. Do you simply allow the matter to settle on that basis and reduce your fees by $986 thereby earning yourself goodwill with your client.

You are about to start your legal career having recently been admitted to practice by a formal order of the Supreme Court. You are now an officer of the court and are very excited and looking forward to helping your clients. However, you also remember that you are joining an honourable profession and that ethical behaviour is a must in all of the work that you will carry out as a lawyer.  As you prepare to go into the office on your first day you think to yourself – if only I had a primer on ethics!

By Michael Dolan.
You are acting for an international company which is the applicant in a Federal Court commercial dispute regarding patent rights and you have filed in court and served an affidavit prepared by you sworn by your client’s Australian manager.  The respondent’s solicitors have contacted you to advise that certain parts of your client’s affidavit are untrue and they provide you with clear documentary evidence supporting their position. What do you do? 

By Michael Dolan.  
You are acting for two friends who purchased a beach house together with a third friend some years ago, but a serious dispute has since arisen between the third friend and your clients as to the beneficial ownership of the property.  Legal proceedings against your clients have been commenced.  You have just received a letter from solicitors acting for the plaintiff demanding that you cease acting for your clients immediately on the basis that you are conflicted.  Must you cease acting?  What should you do? 

By Donna Cooper.
Quite often there are very few black and white answers when it comes to ethics.  As the Honourable Justice Margaret McMurdo stated in an address given in Queensland in 2013 ‘potential ethical dilemmas are infinite. Their resolution can be difficult and finely balanced, even for experienced practitioners and judges.’   One such delicate situation arises when a practitioner strongly suspects that their client may be lying whilst under cross-examination.