If in doubt, don’t assume it’s a solicitor’s undertaking


You may be aware that the decision in Harcus Sinclair LLP v Your Lawyers Ltd [2021] UKSC 32 was handed down last week; it is an interesting read. The case concerned the enforceability of non-compete undertakings, in this case given by one law firm to another in contemplation of collaboration on group litigation.

The real importance of the case for professional negligence lawyers can be found in the comments on the limitations of the court’s inherent jurisdiction and the nature of solicitors’ undertakings. As the court found that the relevant non-compete undertaking was not a solicitor’s undertaking, these comments are obiter dicta, but they highlight the lack of protection provided by undertakings given by LLPs or other entities (rather than individual solicitors). The court calls for Parliament to extend its inherent jurisdiction to all providers of legal services on a functional approach.

You can read the full case note here.