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Model Code of Professional Conduct

Each of Canada’s law societies enforces a code of conduct for members of the legal profession in their jurisdiction. With national mobility of the profession, the law societies recognize the benefit of moving toward harmonized rules of conduct so that the public can expect the same ethical requirements to apply wherever their legal advisor may practice law.

The Federation has approved a Model Code of Professional Conduct that has been implemented by some law societies, and is under review by others. Over time, it is expected that any significant differences in rules of conduct across Canada will be eliminated.

The Federation has established a Standing Committee on the Model Code of Professional Conduct to monitor changes in the law and to recommend improvements as the Model Code is implemented. 

2014 Amendments
The Council of the Federation approved a package of amendments to the Model Code of Professional Conduct on October 10, 2014. The 2014 amendments to the Model Code include:

  • New short-term summary legal services rules that will facilitate the important access to legal services work of a wide range of non-for-profit legal service providers.
  • New language rights rules requiring lawyers to advise their clients of their right to proceed in the official language of their choice.
  • Revisions to the conflicts of interest rules incorporating principles from a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision and revising the rules governing lawyers transferring between law firms and lawyers doing business with clients.
  • A new rule on incriminating physical evidence that prohibits the concealment, destruction or alteration of incriminating physical evidence; prohibits any obstruction of the course of justice; and provides guidance for lawyers to ensure protection of the public interest.

The 2014 version of the Model Code incorporating the amendments is available here. A document tracking the 2014 amendments to the Model Code is also available.