Amended lawyer and paralegal rules and paralegal guidelines are in effect October 1, 2014. The amended rules and guidelines reflect the Federation of Law Societies of Canada's Model Code of Professional Conduct. Most amendments are minor, however some changes are more substantive and introduce new standards.
The following resources will assist lawyers and paralegals with understanding and complying with the amended rules.
New articles: Obligations upon Withdrawal from Representation - Lawyers and Paralegals
Resources for lawyers
Amended Rules of Professional Conduct (PDF)
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).
Resources for paralegals
Amended Paralegal Rules of Conduct
Amended Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines
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