In carrying out their work, BC lawyers must maintain acceptable standards of conduct, many of which are set out in the Code of Professional Conduct for BC (BC Code), as adopted by the Law Society governors (Benchers).

Chapter 2 of the BC Code contains the Canons of Legal Ethics. The Canons were first adopted in BC in 1921 and set out some of the overriding principles of ethical conduct.

A lawyer is "a minister of justice, an officer of the courts, a client's advocate and a member of an ancient, honourable and learned profession."

It is a lawyer’s duty to:

  • promote the interests of the state;
  • serve the cause of justice;
  • maintain the authority and dignity of the courts;
  • be faithful to clients;
  • be candid and courteous in relations with other lawyers;
  • demonstrate personal integrity.

The Canadian Bar Association's Code of Professional Conduct is advisory only. Where Benchers have made a ruling, that ruling will govern over the CBA's Code.

The Law Society Ethics Committee provides support to the Benchers in setting ethical standards for BC lawyers.

Lawyers who are seeking ethical guidance from the Law Society are welcome to contact a practice advisor or one of the Benchers. The practice advisors can also assist or direct enquiries to the Ethics Committee.