Adopted by Convocation March 29, 2007, effective May 1, 2007
Amendments based on the Federation of Law Societies Model
Code of Professional Conduct adopted by Convocation February 27, 2014,
effective October 1, 2014
Amendments current to February 23, 2017 (see Amendment History)
See also the Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines, created to assist with the interpretation and application of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct.
Note: Lawyers should consult the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Complete Paralegal Rules of Conduct
- RULE 1: Citation and Interpretation — Definitions for
key terms used throughout the Rules
- RULE 2: Professionalism — issues related to
professionalism, such as integrity and civility, undertakings, harassment and
- RULE 3: Duty to Clients — client-related issues such as
competence, confidentiality, conflict of interest, client property and
withdrawal from representation
- RULE 4: Advocacy — duty to clients, tribunals and
others, disclosure of documents, interviewing witnesses, communication with
witnesses giving testimony, the paralegal as witness and dealing with
- RULE 5: Fees and Retainers — issues including
contingency fees, joint retainers, fee splitting and referral fees
- RULE 6: Duty to the Administration of Justice —
general duty, security of court facilities, public appearances and statements,
and unauthorized practice
- RULE 7: Duty to Licensees and Others — duty to act
with courtesy and good faith
- RULE 8: Practice Management — general obligations,
marketing, advertising and insurance
- RULE 9: Responsibility to the Law Society — communications
from the Law Society, duties to report, professional misconduct and conduct
unbecoming a paralegal
- Index (PDF)
Paralegal Rules of Conduct in effect prior to October 1,
Resources for Paralegals
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