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Conflict of interests and RBS’s fear

The attempt by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to prevent law firm Cooke, Young & Keidan (CYK) from acting for Property Alliance Group (PAG) in its £30m Libor-rigging claim against the bank is based on allegations of conflicts of interest arising out of rules of evidence protecting communications that are subject to legal privilege.

16 February 2016

The bank was concerned because a former employee of one of its panel firms (Clifford Chance, though Dentons is acting for RBS in this case) has recently been employed by CYK. The bank said it feared that the employee might have acquired documents or information relevant to the PAG case which, in CYK’s hands, would be extremely damaging to the bank. 

Clearly, if the unfortunate former Clifford Chance lawyer now at CYK had information relevant to the PAG case, then it would have been confidential and privileged, and RBS’s interests could thereby have been severely prejudiced. 

Having previously said it was going to defend the application, and having instructed Trevor Mascarenhas of PCB Litigation to do so, CYK has now conceded that its client’s interests are best served by withdrawing from the case. Members of the disputes team at Bird & Bird, led by partner Steven Baker, are now sharpening their pencils ready to take over from CYK...

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