Rules recap: Your Q1 2016 update
Recent rule amendments
Convocation made the following amendments to Law Society rules in the last quarter:
Conduct rules amended re: retired judges returning to practice
The Rules of Professional Conduct were amended to provide that lawyers who previously served as judges on the Superior Court of Justice and who return to practise and plan to appear as counsel or advocate in any court, or before an administrative board or tribunal, must now apply to the Law Society for approval. The Rules were also amended to replace the phrase “committee of Convocation appointed for the purpose” with “panel of the Hearing Division of the Law Society Tribunal” to reflect Convocation’s earlier designation for the committee. Read the Professional Regulation Committee’s Report to Convocation, Jan. 28, 2016.
Paralegal Rules of Conduct amended re: working with unauthorized persons
Convocation amended Rule 6.01 (6) of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct regarding working with unauthorized persons to replace the phrase “committee of Convocation appointed for the purpose” with “panel of the Hearing Division of the Law Society Tribunal”. The change reflects the current process whereby Convocation has designated the Tribunal for this purpose. Read the Paralegal Standing Committee’s Report to Convocation, Feb. 25, 2016.
Lawyers’ conduct rules amended re: conflicts of interest
Convocation approved changes to the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct to reflect the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Canadian National Railway Co. v. McKercher LLP, as well as other developments in the law and related changes made to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Code of Professional Conduct.
According to McKercher, a lawyer, and by extension a law firm, cannot act for a client whose immediate legal interests are adverse to those of another existing client, unless both clients consent. The “bright line” rule applies regardless of whether the matters are related or unrelated.
The commentaries to Rule 3.4-1 (Conflicts of Interest) and Rule 3.4-2 (Consent) were amended to provide guidance to lawyers regarding their ethical obligations in this area. The Law Society sought input from the profession on the proposed rule changes in 2015. Read the Professional Regulation Committee’s Report to Convocation, Feb. 25, 2016.
Lawyers’ conduct rules amended re: incriminating physical evidence
Convocation approved the addition of new rule 5.1-2A and related commentary to the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct. The new rule prohibits the concealment, destruction or alteration of incriminating physical evidence. The adoption of the new rule follows a call for input regarding proposed rule amendments held in 2015 and the addition of a similar rule to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Code of Professional Conduct in 2014. Read the Professional Regulation Committee’s Report to Convocation, Feb. 25, 2016.
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