Opposing Legal Representative is Suspended

Suspended lawyers and paralegals are prohibited from practising law or providing legal services and from holding themselves out as being entitled to practice law or provide legal services (rule 7.6-1.2 of the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct and subrule 6.01(7) of the ParalegalRules of Conduct respectively). Part II of By-Law 7.1 and Part II.1 of By-Law 9 outline the obligations of suspended lawyers and paralegals.

Where a lawyer or paralegal learns that the licence to practice law or to provide legal services of the opposing legal representative in an ongoing matter has been suspended, or that the opposing legal representative has provided an undertaking to the Law Society of Upper Canada not to practice law or provide legal services, the lawyer or paralegal should first confirm the opposing lawyer or paralegal’s status with the Law Society. A lawyer may do so by viewing the online Lawyer and Paralegal Directory and/or contacting the Law Society’s Resource Centre at (416) 947-3315 or 1-800-668-7380, ext. 3315.

If the opposing legal representative is no longer suspended or subject to an undertaking not to practice or provide legal services, a lawyer or paralegal may continue to deal with him or her regarding the file. If the opposing lawyer or paralegal is still suspended or subject to an undertaking not to practice law or provide legal services, the lawyer or paralegal cannot continue to deal with him or her on the ongoing matter at all or in any way that contravenes the opposing representative’s undertaking.

If the opposing lawyer or paralegal insists on continuing with the matter while suspended or subject to an undertaking, the lawyer or paralegal must refuse to deal with the suspended opposing legal representative on the matter. As lawyers and paralegals are obligated to assist with the prevention of unauthorized practice of law or provision of legal services (rule 7.6-1 of the lawyers’ Rules and subrule 6.01(5) of the Paralegal Rules), lawyers and paralegals must not negotiate with suspended lawyers or paralegals as “agents” for the opposing party.

If the client of the suspended lawyer or paralegal does not retain a new legal representative, the lawyer or paralegal must comply with rule 7.2-9 of the lawyers’ Rules or rule 4.05 of the Paralegal Rules respectively in dealing directly with the opposing party (the client of the suspended lawyer or paralegal) as an unrepresented party. Specifically, the lawyer or paralegal must take care to see that the unrepresented person is not proceeding under the impression that their interests will be protected by the lawyer or paralegal and take care to see that the unrepresented person understands that the lawyer or paralegal is acting exclusively in the interests of their own client and that, as a result, their comments may be partisan. The lawyer or paralegal should also consider confirming this information in a letter to the opposing party. 

Additional Resources:

Guidelines for Suspended Lawyers

Guidelines for Suspended Paralegals