The Judicial Regulation of Lawyers in Canada
Dalhousie Law Journal, 2014, Volume 37(2)
47 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014 Last revised: 28 Sep 2015
Date Written: November 6, 2014
The question of whether Canadian lawyers ought to be trusted to govern themselves has been repeatedly raised by the public, policy-makers and the academy over the past several decades. The legal profession has responded on a number of fronts, adopting what has been characterized as a “regime of defensive self-regulation.” The analysis in this article complements and complicates this account by arguing that, alongside the profession’s efforts at defensive self-regulation, there has been a steady stream of aggressive judicial regulation. The central argument of this article is two-fold: first, that courts have come to occupy an increasingly active role as regulators of the Canadian legal profession in the past several decades; and, second, that the measures taken by the courts have resulted in a regulatory regime more attentive to the public interest. In advancing these arguments, this article seeks not only to present a more accurate picture of the current status of lawyer regulation in Canada but also to provide a better foundation from which to discuss future reforms.
Keywords: legal ethics, judicial regulation, courts, Canadian legal profession, self-regulation, lawyers
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