The Advisory: Volume 9, Issue 2, August 2011

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New Code of Conduct Now Available for Review

By Nancy Carruthers and Ross McLeod, QC, Practice Advisors, Law Society of Alberta

ON NOVEMBER 1, 2011, a new Code of Conduct will be effective for the Law Society of Alberta. It will replace the Code of Professional Conduct which has been in place in Alberta since 1995.

The new Code of Conduct is now posted to the website for review. We are working with the Legal Education Society of Alberta to develop web-based learning modules for lawyers. It is anticipated that the modules will be available in the fall, prior to the implementation date.

The new Code is based on the Model Code of Conduct developed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. The Federation’s Model Code can be viewed on-line at The Model Code of Conduct is intended to facilitate lawyer mobility across the country and promote public confidence in a self-regulated legal profession. The Model Code was thoroughly reviewed by the Law Society’s Professional Responsibility Committee and the Benchers approved the changes recommended by that Committee.

The Benchers have adopted the new Code as part of an effort to promote consistent national ethical standards, in conjunction with the other Canadian law societies. We have attempted to maintain consistency with nationwide standards to the greatest possible extent, while also preserving essential elements of Alberta standards and practice.

As the Federation has not yet approved a final version of conflicts rules for the Model Code, Chapter 6 on conflicts from the 1995 Code of Professional Conduct has been carried forward to form part of the new Code of Conduct. The Federation is continuing its work on the conflict of interest rules and future changes to the Code may be contemplated in the future, to take into account the Federation’s ultimate recommendations.

The Practice Advisors welcome any and all comments and questions from Alberta lawyers. Inquiries may also be brought to the Professional Responsibility Committee, as the Committee responds to requests from the membership for opinions on ethical issues. The Chairperson of the Professional Responsibility Committee is currently Fred Fenwick, Q.C.

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