Regulation in Practice: The 'Ethical Economy' of Lawyer Regulation in Canada and a Case Study in Lawyer Deviance
15(2) Legal Ethics (Forthcoming)
46 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2011 Last revised: 5 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 1, 2011
This paper tests Harry Arthur's theory that Canadian law societies engage in an "ethical economy," in which they use their regulatory powers only in high reward/low risk cases - i.e., where the practitioner is less likely to resist their authority and the offence is morally unambiguous. Analyzing reported cases from 2009 in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia the paper concludes that Arthurs' description still accurately characterizes regulation by Canadian law societies. The paper then conducts a case study of law society and court cases related to one Canadian lawyer, Anthony Merchant, to assess whether the ethical economy is inevitable, or whether a different approach to lawyer regulation can and should be undertaken.
Keywords: regulation, legal ethics
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