FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2004
OTTAWA – Debate on a new Code of Professional Conduct, a call for increased funding for civil legal aid, and a preview of what the legal profession will look like in the next 10 years are on the agenda for the CBA’s Mid-Winter Meeting of Council, Feb. 21-22 in Whitehorse.
The CBA’s Ethics Committee has thoroughly reviewed the Code of Professional Conduct – a process that began in 2000. Charged with the task of updating a document first written in 1926 and later revised in 1974 and 1987, the Ethics Committee has made a number of key recommendations.
The new Code spells out specific circumstances in which lawyers could disclose confidential information – e.g. for the purpose of preventing a crime and when required by law to report abuse of children or vulnerable adults. The new Code also stipulates that lawyers need to be “competent” with technological advances.
“The CBA Code is the industry standard when it comes to conduct rules for Canadian lawyers,” says CBA President William Johnson, Q.C. of Regina. “In this era of globalized law practice and increased mobility between Canadian jurisdictions, a well thought-out and up-to-date Code is essential.”
Among the recommendations are two that deal with sexual relationships with clients. Debate on the new Code will start in Whitehorse, with a final vote expected at the next meeting of CBA Council in Winnipeg in August.
A resolution on access to justice calls on the federal government to name one minister responsible for civil legal aid, and to make available new funds for civil legal aid to provinces and territories prepared to match the federal funding.
CBA Council members will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the future of the legal profession and the CBA. “The CBA Futures team has been hard at work researching and identifying social, economic and demographic trends affecting lawyers and the profession, and the impact of these trends on the CBA,” says Futures Committee Chair Robert Patzelt of Halifax.
The Mid-Winter Meeting takes place on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 22, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The meeting is open to accredited media. Council meetings will be held at the Westmark Whitehorse Hotel in Conference Room 1-3.
The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 38,000 lawyers, notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.
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CONTACT: Hannah Bernstein, Canadian Bar Association, 500-865 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5S8 Tel: (613) 237-2925, ext. 146; E-mail: email@example.com. In Whitehorse, Feb. 20-22, tel: (867) 633-4355/4360.