Who we don't act for
GANTT LEGAL avoids conflicts of interest.
Since its creation, the firm has successfully avoided falling into any conflict of interest through the adoption of special conflict of interest rules.
In the context of a law firm, conflicts of interest may arise in three ways:
- Legal conflict of interest - The classic example is acting for more than one disputing entity. These conflicts are easily identified, and avoided. We have often seen lawyers take instructions from submitter clients against a particular development, only to find out later that the undisclosed proponent of the particular development is a large client of the firm already.
- Commercial conflict of interest - This occurs when a law firm acts for client A against client B, but also does work for, or is seeking work from, client B, but not in relation to the matter involving client A. The conflict is not as obvious as a legal conflict of interest. However it is possible that a perception may be formed that a lawyer is not fully discharging their duty to their client A because the lawyer is mindful of its relationship with client B, or vice versa. Most of the law firms practising in this jurisdiction simultaneously act for, and seek out work from, developers, statutory bodies and local government simultaneously. This can be unhealthy.
- Intellectual conflict of interest - This occurs where a law firm acts for a client of a certain type (like a local government) and has provided advice about certain matters to that client on a matter of general importance, like the interpretation of legislation. The intellectual conflict can arise when, for example, the law firm is approached to act for a non-local government client in relation to the same matter of general importance, and the duty to that new client might require the lawyer to form a contrary view in relation to that same matter. The lawyer may be reluctant to form that view by virtue of the contrary view the lawyer has already formed for a competing type of client.
The simplest way for the firm to avoid these potentialities was to adopt special rules about who the firm will act for, and not act for.
GANTT LEGAL does not act for, nor has it sought to act for, any local government or statutory body.
GANTT LEGAL does not act for submitters against development proposals. The only exception is if the submitter is an entity protecting a legitimate development or landowner interest. So, for example, we will act for a landowner/developer against a proponent of a neighbouring proposal in order to ensure, for example, that infrastructure of an appropriate specification and design is developed in order to facilitate the orderly development of the client's land. The provision of connected road, water, stormwater and sewer infrastructure are examples of the types of infrastructure that often need to be provided to a common boundary in order to facilitate orderly development.