Code of Conduct
1. A Voluntary Code
Members (“the Members”) of the Association of Contentious Trust & Probate Specialists (“the A.C.T.A.P.S.”) will endeavour to act in accordance with a voluntary Code of Conduct (“the Code”). The Code is a guide only since Members acknowledge that every contentious situation they face may be different, and the client’s instructions in any given case may differ. It is however hoped that by considering the voluntary Code, Members may help clients to secure a quicker and more cost effective resolution of a dispute.
2.1 The Member should at an early stage in any given matter, inform a new client of the Code’s provisions and the fact that he or she will endeavour to be guided by it.
2.2 Where appropriate the Member will endeavour at an early stage of the matter to have a without prejudice meeting with his or her counterpart to explore the possibility of the matter being resolved without the necessity for formal protracted and potentially acrimonious Court proceedings.
3. Conduct of Litigation
3.1 Members should where appropriate endeavour to utilise the full range of solutions and in particular, to consider the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
3.2 Where parties clearly have common interests they should be encouraged to instruct the same legal team. Members should point out to clients that the proliferation of legal representation is not always appropriate or necessary.
4.1 Members should, at an early stage, advise their clients of the professional costs implication of any dispute ie that costs escalate rapidly, that Courts will not automatically order that the costs be paid out of the funds in dispute, and accordingly a “loser” could end up paying all the various parties costs out of his/her own pocket.
4.2 Members should be conscious of the need to review the issue of costs with their clients on a regular basis and endeavour to discuss the costs position regularly with their counterparts acting for the other parties involved.
4.3 Similarly, the implications of the need to fund proceedings should be discussed fully with the client.
4.4 “Calderbank” offers should be considered, where appropriate, to focus the parties attention on the costs of the dispute in the context of the sum in dispute.
4.5 Members should, where appropriate, advise clients of the possibility of referring a dispute to arbitration or other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution and in particular, the costs advantages inherent in adopting that course of action.