Draft Alberta Conflict Rules Available for Review
The new conflict of interest rules are now available for review by lawyers on the Law Society of Alberta's website. While there are a number of changes from our current Code of Conduct, familiar material has been incorporated in the new draft.
In November 2011, the Law Society implemented a new Code of Conduct. The Law Society attempted to maintain consistency with nationwide standards to the greatest possible extent, while also preserving essential elements of Alberta standards and practice which were previously articulated in our 1995 Alberta Code of Professional Conduct.
As the Federation of Law Societies of Canada had not yet approved a final version of conflicts rules for the Model Code, Chapter 6 on conflicts from the 1995 Alberta Code continued as part of the new Code. In December 2011, the Federation issued new Model conflicts rules for consideration and adoption by the provincial law societies. These rules have already been approved and adopted in several jurisdictions.
The Professional Responsibility Committee began its review of the new Model conflict rules in March. The Committee sought to retain key conflicts principles and to provide clear, meaningful guidance to lawyers, consistent with Alberta standards of practice and ethics articulated by the judiciary.
In June, the Law Society of Alberta approved a version of the new rules, in principle, without the related commentary. The Committee was directed to complete the review and revision of the rules and commentary over the summer. The Committee considered the Federation’s Model Rule, the former Alberta rules, independent research and input from the profession. The final draft version is now posted on the website for the profession to review. It will be considered by the Benchers on September 28, 2012.
Interested members of the profession may provide feedback by sending comments to the Chair of the Professional Responsibility Committee, Rose Carter QC, through the Committee staff liaison Jennifer Rothery at Jennifer.Rothery@lawsociety.ab.ca.