Consultations Begin on Amendments to Model Code of Professional Conduct

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has launched its first public consultation on draft amendments to the Model Code of Professional Conduct. The proposed amendments have been drafted by the Federation’s Standing Committee on the Model Code of Professional Conduct, which was created in 2011 to monitor changes in the law and to recommend improvements over time as the Model Code is implemented.

“The Model Code of Professional Conduct has been implemented in a number of law societies and is under review in the others,“ explains Federation President Marie-Claude Bélanger-Richard, Q.C. “The Model Code is a living document that must remain contemporary and reflect changes in the law.”

The proposed amendments include changes to eliminate language that stigmatizes those suffering from mental health problems or that could be interpreted as discriminating against equity seeking groups. In addition, the amendments clarify a lawyer’s duty to report to the law society the conduct of another lawyer that jeopardizes the interests of that lawyer’s clients, simplify rules that prohibit lawyers from coaching or tampering with witnesses, add guidance on communicating with expert witnesses, and clarify a lawyer’s obligation to inform clients and the professional liability insurer of any errors or omissions.

The consultation period ends November 24, 2014. Submissions can be addressed to the Federation online at consultations@flsc.ca.