September 28, 2017
Advertising residential real estate services - New rules for the advertising of fixed-price residential real estate services were approved to support transparency and ensure consumers may easily compare prices. The rule amendments were recommended by the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group.
Dishonesty, Fraud by client or others - The lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct and the Paralegal Rules of Conduct were amended to reflect minor changes to the Rules in accordance with the Model Code of Professional Conduct of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. The amendments relate to a lawyer’s and paralegal’s obligations regarding dishonesty, fraud, crime or illegal conduct by a client or others.
Competence and the provision of legal opinions - Amendments to the commentary of the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct and the Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines provide additional guidance about the provision of legal opinions. The impetus for the amendments was the recommendation by the Canadian Bar Association Legal Futures Initiative, which emphasized the importance of lawyer independence and raised the possibility of undue influence being exercised by powerful clients over a licensee’s legal opinions.
Language rights - The Paralegal Rules of Conduct that address a client’s right to receive legal services in the official language of their choice were amended to include explicit reference to aboriginal languages. This reflects similar amendments made to the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct in September 2015.
June 29, 2017
Leaving a firm - Amendments to the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct, the Paralegal Rules of Conduct and Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines clarify licensee obligations when leaving a firm, including issues of client choice of legal representative, how a licensee and firm should interact when a licensee departs and how licensees should provide notice of the departure to clients.
Incriminating physical evidence - The following was added to the Commentary to the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct and Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines: “The (lawyer’s or paralegal’s) advice to a client that the client has the right to refuse to divulge the location of physical evidence does not constitute hindering an investigation”.
April 27, 2017
Amendments to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct enhance guidance to paralegals on the obtaining of consent from a client, where there is a conflict of interest, by eliminating the distinction between express and implied consent. The corresponding guidelines were also amended. The changes to the paralegal rules follow a consultation with the profession on the proposed amendments and reflect amendments made to the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct in February 2016. Full report.
Convocation also amended the Rules of Professional Conduct and Rules of Paralegal Conduct with respect to advertising and referral fees. Convocation approved a cap for referral fees based on a percentage of the legal fee. Related amendments to increase the transparency of referral fee arrangements were also approved.
February 23, 2017
The lawyer and paralegal Rules of Conduct were amended to clarify the scope of the prohibition against threatening criminal proceedings. The prohibition was expanded in 2014 to include regulatory proceedings. The Rule applies to threats without reasonable and lawful justification to initiate or proceed with a charge for an offence under the Criminal Code or other federal statute, a provincial or territorial statute, or a municipal by-law. The Rule also applies to a threat to make a complaint to a regulatory authority. Paralegal Standing Committee report. Professional Regulation Committee report.
Convocation amended the conduct rules governing the advertising of legal services and adding new public protection measures. The amended rules:
• Provide detailed guidance on what awards may be used for marketing purposes.
• Require licensees to identify in their advertising whether they are a lawyer or paralegal.
• Prohibit advertising of second-opinion services
• Make explicit that lawyers and paralegals may not advertise for work they are not licensed to do, not competent to do or do not intend to do.
September 22, 2016
Convocation amended the Paralegal Rules of Conduct to provide for a modified conflicts of interest standard for paralegals who provide pro-bono short term legal services under the auspices of Pro Bono Ontario or another pro bono provider. The rules were also amended to add ‘family status’ to rule 2.03(4), making it consistent with Rule 2.03(3).
May 26, 2016
Convocation amended the lawyers’ and paralegals’ conduct rules regarding the following:
Transactions with Clients: The amendments ensure the rules on conflicts of interest in circumstances where licensees engage in transactions with clients are clear, consistent, and logical and able to provide appropriate guidance to the professions.
Duty to Report: The amendments clarify when the duty to report a licensee to the Law Society arises. They also revise the rules’ approach to the issue of the duty to report to the Law Society a concern about another licensee’s capacity to provide professional services.
Errors and Omissions: The amendments clarify the rules regarding the relationship between a licensee’s ethical duties and a licensee’s obligations under mandatory liability insurance contracts. The amendments also make it clear that a licensee’s ethical duty to notify their insurer of a potential claim may arise regardless of whether the licensee believes the claim has merit.
The amended rules reflect changes made to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Code of Professional Conduct.
April 28, 2016
Convocation approved the addition of new subrule 4 (5.2) to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct. The new rule prohibits paralegals from concealing, destroying or altering incriminating physical evidence. The adoption of the new rule follows the addition of a similar rule to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Code of Professional Conduct in 2014 and the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct in February 2016.
February 25, 2016
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.
September 24, 2015
New Rule 3.03 (10) clarifying that when a paralegal transfers from one firm to another, the paralegal may disclose confidential client information to the extent reasonably necessary to detect and resolve conflicts of interest that may arise as a result of the transfer, provided the disclosure does not prejudice the client.
Amendment to Rule 3.05 (2) regarding law firm disqualification, to clarify that a firm may not be required to cease representation if all reasonable measures have been taken to ensure that there will be no disclosure of confidential client information.
New Rule 3.05 (6) providing that a transferring paralegal shall exercise due diligence in ensuring that each member and employee of the new firm complies with the rules and does not disclose confidential information.
New Rule 3.05 (1.1) providing that the transfer rules do not apply to a transfer within a government.
The amendments are consistent with recent changes made to the lawyers conduct rules, which were based on the Federation of Law Societies of Canada Model Code.
June 25, 2015
Convocation amended the Paralegal Rules on language rights; Rule 3.02 now provides that clients have the right to be served in the official language of their choice and that paralegals should carefully consider whether it is possible to provide the required service in a competent manner. The Paralegal Guidelines were also amended by the Paralegal Standing Committee to reflect the changes to the Rules.
October 1, 2014
Amendments to the rules reflecting the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Code of Professional Conduct came into effect Oct. 1, 2014. Convocation approved the amendments at its Feb. 2014 meeting. See Feb. 2014 Convocation report (PDF). See also Paralegal Rules of Conduct in effect prior to October 1, 2014 (PDF)
January 23, 2014
Convocation approved an amendment to Rule 2.03 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct to reflect recent changes made to the Human Rights Code specifying that every person has a right to equal treatment without discrimination because of gender identity or gender expression. Full Report
September 22, 2011
Convocation approved amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Paralegal Rules of Conduct to provide guidance to lawyers and paralegals who provide legal services under limited scope retainers, also called “unbundled” legal services.
April 28, 2011
Convocation amended Rule 3.02 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct to implement Convocation’s decision in February 2011 regarding trust account requirements. The rule amendments emphasize that a trust account must not be used for purposes outside the provision of legal services. Paralegal Standing Committee report.
January 27, 2011
Convocation amended Rule 4.04 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct to reflect the wording of the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct regarding a licensee acting as both advocate and witness. Full report.
November 25, 2010
The Rules of Professional Conduct and the Paralegal Rules of Conduct were amended to clarify the ethical obligations of lawyers and paralegals when they communicate with represented corporations or organizations. Full report (Professional Regulation).
Full report (Paralegal Standing).
May 27, 2010
Rule 4.01 was amended to include a provision addressing a paralegal's professional responsibilities when acting as a prosecutor, reflecting comparable wording in the lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct. Full report.
February 25, 2010
The Paralegal Rules of Conduct were amended to remove a redundant paragraph in Rule 3. Full report.
January 28, 2010
Convocation amended Rule 8 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct adding the requirement to report to an insurer an incident that may give rise to a claim on a professional liability insurance policy.Full report.
January 29, 2009
Rule 8 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct and Rule 6 of the lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct regarding financial obligations were amended. The amendments clarify the application of the rule to non-payment of financial obligations incurred in the course of practice on behalf of clients, and maintain the ability of the Law Society to respond where there are serious allegations of non-payment. For more information on the above see the Paralegal Standing Committee report.
November 27, 2008
Convocation approved the final wording of Rule 8 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct. At its October meeting, Convocation approved amendments to Rule 2 and Rule 8 based on the Committee's draft. The final version was reviewed by the Law Society's Rules drafter. The amended rules provide a more concise statement of the key regulatory concepts relevant to advertising and marketing.
See the Paralegal Standing Committee reports for more information.
October 30, 2008
Convocation made a number of amendments to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct. The majority of changes deal with matters related to affiliations and MDPs (multi-discipline practices) and are based on the business structure provisions in the lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct. The amendments are detailed in the Committee report.
See the Paralegal Standing Committee report for more information.
April 24, 2008
Rules 2.08 (6), (7) and (8) of the Rules of Professional Conduct were amended to refer to licensees rather than lawyers, making clear that lawyers may divide fees with and accept referral fees from paralegals in accordance with the rules. The amendments also make clear that the prohibition on splitting fees or paying referral fees does not apply to arrangements between lawyers and paralegals. The amendments make the rules consistent with the companion rules in the Paralegal Rules of Conduct.
Minor amendments were also made to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct to ensure complete consistency.
See the Professional Regulation Committee report for more information.
January 24, 2008
Convocation approved by-law and rule amendments that set out the obligations of licensees whose licences are suspended or who are subject to other restrictions on practice. Rule 6.01 (6) of the Paralegal Code of Conduct was amended
See the Paralegal Standing Committee and the Professional Regulation Committee reports for more information.
May 25, 2007
Minor housekeeping amendments were made to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct.
See the Paralegal Standing Committee report for more information.