Investigations may not be confidential.

The Law Society does not disclose whether a complaint has been filed against a lawyer or whether an investigation is underway. However, if the existence of the complaint has already been reported publicly, for example in the media, the Law Society may confirm that an investigation is underway. As well, subject to information protected by solicitor/client privilege and a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality to clients and former clients, the lawyer complained about may disclose information about the complaint or its investigation to others.

As part of the investigation, all information the complainant provides to the Law Society may be forwarded to the lawyer for his or her consideration. If the complaint results in a citation being issued against the lawyer, a public hearing will be held. In this case, only information protected by solicitor/client privilege can be kept private unless an order is made by the hearing panel that other information not be disclosed to protect the interests of any person.

Under the Legal Profession Act, information obtained during an investigation cannot be used in other proceedings except with the consent of the author. The Law Society is also subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. As a result, information gathered by the Law Society may be disclosed, on request, to other persons whose interests are affected.