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Revising Canada's Ethical Rules for Judges Returning to Practice

Dalhousie Law Journal Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 483-527 (2011)

46 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2012  

Stephen G. A. Pitel

University of Western Ontario - Faculty of Law

Will Bortolin

Bennett Jones LLP

Date Written: December 15, 2011

Abstract

It has recently become more common for retired Canadian judges to return to the practice of law. This development raises an array of ethical considerations and potential threats to the integrity of the administration of justice. Although most codes of legal ethics contemplate the possibility of former judges returning to practice, the rules on this particular topic are dated, under-analyzed, and generally inadequate. This article reviews the Canadian ethical rules that specifically relate to former judges and identifies their shortcomings. In doing so, the authors consider, for comparative purposes, Canadian ethical rules directed at former public officers who return to practice and American rules directed at former judges. These rules have been developed in a different context, but involve many of the same issues and are more comprehensive. Following this analysis, the authors propose a series of new rules for judges who return to practice. These rules are not intended as the final word on the subject, but rather as starting points for further discussion of the issues involved. They illustrate the competing considerations with which law societies need to grapple as more judges return to practice.

Keywords: judical ethics, judges, practice of law, legal ethics, retired judges

Suggested Citation

Pitel, Stephen G. A. and Bortolin, Will, Revising Canada's Ethical Rules for Judges Returning to Practice (December 15, 2011). Dalhousie Law Journal Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 483-527 (2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2161909

Stephen G. A. Pitel (Contact Author)

University of Western Ontario - Faculty of Law ( email )

London, Ontario N6A 3K7 N6A 3K7
Canada

Will Bortolin

Bennett Jones LLP ( email )

3400 One First Canadian Place
P.O. Box 130
Toronto, Ontario M5X1A4
Canada

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