The Advisory: Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2011

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Alberta Code of Conduct Approved by Benchers

By Neena Ahluwalia, QC, Bencher and Past Chair, Professional Responsibility Committee, Law Society of Alberta

THE BENCHERS of the Law Society have approved a new Alberta Code of Conduct for Alberta lawyers, students-at-law and visiting lawyers.

A target date of November 1, 2011 has been set for implementation of the new code.

The National Model Code was developed by the Federation of Law Societies, with the continuing objective of achieving nationallyconsistent standards of professional ethics to further facilitate the mobility of lawyers within the country. The National Mobility Agreement is a reciprocal arrangement between Canadian law societies, allowing lawyers to practice in other participating jurisdictions for up to 100 days per year.

Although each law society has authority within its own jurisdiction, it is desirable to facilitate a nationwide regulatory regime for the interjurisdictional practice of law to promote uniform standards and procedures.

The Professional Responsibility Committee, with the assistance of the Law Society’s Practice Advisors, has conducted a full review of the Code. This review prompted changes to make the Code consistent with existing Alberta practices and to include more commentary to assist Alberta practitioners.

The Federation has not yet adopted a chapter on conflict of interest. Accordingly, the new Alberta Code of Conduct currently contains the wording from Chapter 6 of the existing Code of Professional Conduct.

The Law Society will be providing further details about the Code to lawyers in upcoming issues of the Advisory and EBulletins, and also on the Law Society website. An educational component is being developed and lawyers will be notified of upcoming educational opportunities.

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