What is a ‘Duty of Candour’?
Lawyers were recently reminded that a ‘duty of candour’ within litigation is of ‘paramount importance’ – so what exactly is this duty?
The Court of Appeal recently claimed that the UK government had seriously breached its ‘duty of candour’ in Citizens UK v Secretary of State for the Home Department. This is because the Court of Appeal claimed that the government failed to provide all of the relevant and necessary evidence that was required in the making of the decision.
Following from this, Lawyers were kindly reminded that in all civil litigation cases, a ‘duty of candour’ should be upheld at all times, whether a lawyer is acting for a private, corporate or government affiliated client. For instance, Lawyers must ensure that substantial evidence is provided, so that a transparent process is guaranteed.
In UK public law, the description of ‘duty of candour’ is a duty imposed upon all public authorities to “not to seek to win [a] litigation at all costs but to assist the court in reaching the correct result and thereby improve standards in public administration”.
Therefore, to ensure that lawyers uphold a ‘duty of candour’ within civil litigation cases, they must ensure at a foundational level that their court demeanor is one of high moral standard, consisting of attributes such as integrity, honesty and fairness.
This is so that the disclosure of the case may promote a more just decision within the court and with accuracy, so that a high level of justice within all litigation cases is maintained.
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