Adopted by Convocation on June 22, 2000, effective November 1, 2000
Amendments based on the Federation of Law Societies Model Code of Professional Conduct adopted by Convocation October 24, 2013, effective October 1, 2014
(see Amendment History)
Rules of Professional Conduct
Rules of Professional Conduct (PDF) – including Guide, Chapters, Table of Concordance and Index
Note: Paralegals should consult the Paralegal Rules of Conduct.
- Guide to the Rules of Professional Conduct (PDF)
- Chapter 1: Citation and Interpretation (PDF) — definitions for key terms used throughout the Rules
- Chapter 2: Integrity (PDF) — a lawyer’s professional duty to act honourably and with integrity
- Chapter 3: Relationship to Clients (PDF) — client-related issues such as lawyer competence, quality of service, confidentiality, conflicts of interest and fees
- Chapter 4: The Practice of Law (PDF) — issues related to marketing and advertising of law practices and professional services
- Chapter 5: Relationship to the Administration of Justice (PDF) — a lawyer's responsibilities to the courts, participants in the legal system and to the overall administration of justice
- Chapter 6: Relationship to Students, Employees, and Others (PDF) — a lawyer's conduct toward students, employees and others, including areas such as supervision, sexual harassment and discrimination
- Chapter 7: Relationship to the Law Society and Other Lawyers (PDF) — a lawyer's responsibilities toward the Law Society and members of the profession, involvement in multi-discipline practices and public office
- Table of Concordance (PDF)
- Index (PDF)
Rules of Professional Conduct in effect prior to October 1, 2014 (PDF)
Resources for Lawyers
The following resources will help lawyers understand and comply with the amended rules.
The amended Rules of Professional Conduct include a new numbering scheme that mirrors the Model Code. The former rules are divided into rules, subrules and commentaries; the amended rules are divided into chapters, sections, rules and commentaries. In addition, a new rule on integrity (Chapter 2) has been added and this has shifted the numbering of the rules up by one. For example, Chapter 3 (Relationship to Clients) is the former Rule 2 (Relationship to Clients).
The amendments to the conduct rules serve two purposes:
- they enhance guidance to lawyers and paralegals on professional conduct; and
- facilitate uniform national professional conduct standards in an environment of increased mobility of lawyers across Canada.
The amendments are based on the Model Code of Professional Conduct adopted by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the national coordinating body of Canadian law societies. Law societies across Canada are adopting the Federation's Model Code in support of national mobility and to promote public confidence in a self-regulated profession with a national set of common standards for professionalism and ethical behaviour.
In October 2011, the Law Society's Professional Regulation Committee began reviewing the Model Code for the purposes of implementation and sought the comments and views of lawyers on the proposed changes between June and August 2012. The amended lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct were approved at October 2013 Convocation.
In order to maintain consistency between the lawyer and paralegal conduct rules, the Paralegal Rules of Conduct were reviewed in relation to the Model Code and amendments approved at February 2014 Convocation.
To the extent possible, the Law Society has adopted the Model Code without modification. However, some differences exist reflecting Ontario's practice environment and experience.
The Federation has established a Standing Committee on the Model Code of Professional Conduct, which monitors professional conduct developments and changes in the law and recommends improvements to the Model Code as law societies apply the rules.
Background on the development of the Federation's Model Code (PDF)
Federation's Model Code of Professional Conduct