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Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee
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FAQs about Privilege and Confidentiality for Lawyers in Private Practice
FAQs about Privilege and Confidentiality for In-House Counsel
Solicitor-Client Privilege in Canada Challenges for the 21st Century
Whose Privilege Is It? A Debate
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Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee

The Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee is dedicated to fostering and advancing ethical and professional conduct and standards in the legal profession. It is responsible for identifying and studying issues relating to ethics and professional responsibility and developing practice tools to assist lawyers in identifying and fulfilling their professional responsibilities.

CBA Code of Professional Conduct

The CBA adopted its first Code of Professional Conduct in 1920. The CBA Code has played an integral role in the Canadian legal profession. Some Canadian jurisdictions have adopted the CBA Code, with occasional modifications, as their own. In other jurisdictions, law societies refer to the CBA Code when they interpret or amend their codes. Academics, law students and Canadian lawyers working outside Canada refer to the CBA Code when they need to know Canadian standards of conduct. In this era of globalized law practice and increased mobility between Canadian jurisdictions, it is important to have common conduct rules for all Canadian lawyers.

To that end, and recognizing that most provinces and territories have either adopted the FLSC’s Model Code of Professional Conduct or plan to do so in 2014, CBA Council approved a resolution at its Mid-Winter meeting in February 2014 that the CBA Code be discontinued once no Canadian law society uses it or incorporates it by reference as the ethical rules in that jurisdiction. The CBA remains committed to the harmonization of standards for legal ethics and professional conduct and looks forward to providing ongoing input to the FLSC on improvements to its Model Code.

Searching the Code

By Chapter. The chapters appear along the left-hand column of the pdf. Clicking on the chapter name or number links to the relevant text.

By Keyword. The search function is activated as follows:“Find” in the toolbar will locate the first instance of the keyword or phrase. “Next” and “previous” buttons provide further navigation.

The binocular icon on the far left, and Control+F open a box. Type in the word or phrase, which will then appear highlighted in the text. Multiple occurrences of the keyword will be listed and are linked to the relevant text.

Practice Tools

Solicitor-Client Privilege in Canada: Challenges for the 21st Century

In a series of cases over the past three decades, the Supreme Court of Canada has greatly strengthened solicitor-client privilege, elevating it from a limited evidentiary privilege into a quasi-constitutional right to communicate in confidence with one’s lawyer which can be invoked in any circumstances. However, the Court’s jurisprudence does not provide an adequate framework for addressing several issues regarding the privilege. Moreover, the Canadian approach is in many ways at odds with how the privilege is treated in other common law jurisdictions.

In this context, CBA engaged Professor Adam Dodek to prepare a discussion paper to take stock of the state of solicitor-client privilege in Canada and internationally, and to identify current challenges and opportunities for CBA.

Protect client confidentiality in disclosing information about trust accounts

If you have a trust account at a financial institution that is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), you will receive a reminder each April about disclosure requirements they must meet under the CDIC Joint and Trust Account Disclosure By-law. For a trust deposit to enjoy additional insurance coverage, trustees must disclose certain information on the records of the member institution. The good news is that solicitor-client privilege has been addressed, and confidentiality of client information can be protected.

To protect client confidentiality, a lawyer or notary may substitute an alpha numeric or other code for the name and address of each beneficiary. The code would refer back to the records maintained at the lawyers’ or notary’s office, thereby maintaining confidentiality.

Read the CDIC Letter
Visit the CDIC website
Or call 1-800-461-2342

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