Solicitor-Client Privilege


The CBA’s Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee offers a range of practice tools and resources for legal professionals to learn more about solicitor-client privilege. Resources include:

We also intervene in key court cases addressing solicitor-client privilege.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do when you encounter difficult client situations? Our frequently asked questions about solicitor-client privilege and client confidentiality provide practical guidance for addressing specific challenges. You can consult:

  • Frequently Asked Questions about Privilege and Confidentiality for Lawyers in Private Practice (pdf version) (html version
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Privilege and Confidentiality for In-House Counsel (pdf version) (html version)

Solicitor-Client Privilege: 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. In other words, communicating in confidence with your lawyer can be invoked under any circumstances.

There are limitations. The Court’s jurisprudence does not provide an adequate framework to address several issues regarding the privilege. This 2011 report, authored by University of Ottawa Law Professor Adam Dodek, takes stock of the state of solicitor-client privilege in Canada and internationally, and identifies challenges and opportunities for the CBA.

Read the full report, Solicitor-Client Privilege in Canada: Challenges for the 21st Century.

Watch the video, “Whose Privilege is It?

This rapid-fire debate, featuring Professor Adam Dodek (University of Ottawa Faculty of Law) and Mahmud Jamal (Osler LLP), covers professional issues related to solicitor-client privilege.

Protecting Confidentiality in Trust Accounts

Do you have a trust account at a financial institution that is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)? CDIC has addressed the issue of maintaining confidentiality of client information.

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.

Learn more:

Recent Submissions and Resolutions