Interactive Model Code of Professional Conduct – a New Resource for Mobile Lawyers, Academic Researchers and Others
I am very pleased to let you know that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada has launched the Interactive Model Code of Professional Conduct, a new free online tool that links the provisions in the Federation’s Model Code to the matching or related rules of professional conduct in every law society in Canada.
This interactive tool will allow mobile lawyers, law society staff and leaders, academic researchers and others to quickly and easily find the enforceable rules in every Canadian jurisdiction using the national Model Code as the central reference point. Users will be able to isolate specific sections of the Federation’s Model Code and view the corresponding code of conduct of another jurisdiction.
One of the Federation’s first initiatives to harmonize regulations governing members of the legal profession, the Model Code was developed in response to mobility within the profession. Following adoption of the National Mobility Agreement in 2002, Canadian law societies recognized the value of harmonizing as much as possible the ethical rules governing lawyers across Canada. Introduced in 2009, the Model Code has now been implemented by ten Canadian law societies, is reflected in the Barreau du Quebec’s new Code of Professional Conduct, and is under review in the remaining jurisdictions. You are welcome to look at the Model Code implementation map available on the Federation’s website for more information (http://flsc.ca/resources/implementation-of-the-model-code/).
The Model Code sets out expected minimum standards of conduct by members of the legal profession. The rules in the Model Code reflect common ethical principles. Commentary following each rule provides additional guidance. Recognizing that to remain meaningful the Model Code must be treated as a living document that evolves over time, a Federation standing committee monitors changes in the law of professional responsibility and legal ethics and periodically proposes amendments to the Code.
The Standing Committee on the Model Code has developed a dynamic process for maintaining the Model Code – a process that includes a robust process of consultation with the law societies, legal academics, representatives of the profession, and members of the public.
The Federation’s focus on legal ethics extends beyond its work drafting rules of professional conduct. A national standard applied to all Canadian common law programs effective 2015 requires all graduates to have taken a stand alone course in ethics and professionalism. The Federation is also a cosponsor with the Canadian Bar Association of an annual Ethics Forum – a full-day CPD event on legal ethics (this year it will be on March 7, 2016 in Toronto – registration is already open) and an enthusiastic supporter of the annual conference put on by the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics.
With the new online Interactive Model Code of Professional Conduct we hope to facilitate access to the Model Code and the provincial and territorial codes of professional conduct. I hope you enjoy this new tool.
Happy researching and Happy 2016!
Gavin Hume, Q.C., Chair, Standing Committee on the Model Code of Professional Conduct
Federation of Law Societies of Canada