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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

Examination Timing: 00H01M08S

A solicitor, Mr. Hughes, is advising his client, Sarah, on an employment contract for a position she has been offered in a start-up company. Sarah currently holds a permanent position at an established company. The following day, Mr. Hughes sits next to a new acquaintance at a golf club dinner. The new acquaintance expresses concerns that the business he works for is headed for financial failure because its key customer is about to be taken into receivership. He then reveals the name of the business he works for, and much to Mr. Hughes' surprise, it is the start-up company offering Sarah the job. 

Is Mr. Hughes obliged to inform Sarah of the reported concerns about the financial prospects of the start-up company?

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Solicitors are bound by the duty to act in the best interests of their clients, which includes disclosing material information relevant to the client’s matter. In this scenario, the information about the start-up company’s financial difficulties is highly material to Sarah’s decision about whether to accept the job offer. While the information was obtained in Mr. Hughes' personal life, it directly affects his professional duties because it is pertinent to the advice he is providing to Sarah. Therefore, Mr. Hughes is obliged to inform Sarah of the reported concerns about the financial prospects of the start-up company. 

Key Point: This question highlights the solicitor's duty of disclosure, particularly in balancing the duty to act in the client's best interests with the duty of confidentiality. Understanding when and how to disclose material information is crucial for providing comprehensive and ethical legal advice.

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