The Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee responds to issues that impact the rule of law

Below are Law Society statements on issues affecting the independence of the legal profession, the justice system and the rule of law.

The Rule of Law and Prosecutorial Discretion
May 21, 2019, published by Slaw
Article by the Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee

The rule of law and civil disobedience
Winter 2018 Benchers' Bulletin, pp. 4-5

Law Society sends letter regarding Bill C-58 to the President of the Treasury Board and the Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
December 15, 2017
The Law Society has provided comments on provisions in Bill C-58 that require the publishing of data on judicial expenses.

Law Society submits letter to the Minster of Public Safety regarding Bill C-59
October 24, 2017
The Law Society has sent a letter to the Honourable Ralph Goodale to outline its considerations regarding Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters. 

Joint letter to the President of the Democratic Republic of Zimbabwe
August 3, 2017
The Law Society has written a joint letter with various organizations to express concern over the future of the independence of the judiciary in Zimbabwe. The press statement from the Law Society of Zimbabwe is available here.

Letter to the federal ministers on searches of electronic devices at the Canadian border
May 4, 2017
The Law Society sent a letter to the federal government expressing concern about searches of electronic devices at the Canadian border.

In response to the Law Society’s letter, the Minister of Public Safety has advised that officers are instructed not to examine documents if they suspect they may be subject to privilege, if they are specifically marked with the assertion that they are privileged, or if privilege is claimed by a lawyer with respect to the documents. Read the Minister’s full letter here and the Law Society’s response to his letter here.

Uninformed Criticism of the Courts can Undermine the Rule of Law
April 13, 2017
Statement from the Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee

Letter to the Minister of Health and Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on Bill C-37
March 28, 2017
The Law Society sent a letter expressing concerns on the risks associated with Bill C-37 that privileged correspondence could be opened and viewed by officers.

The Rule of Law and Current Events in the US
February 7, 2017
Opinion of the Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee

Recent developments in the UK threaten rule of law
Winter 2016 Benchers' Bulletin, p. 7

Submission to the Federal government on consultation on national security
December 2016
The Law Society sent a submission to the Federal government regarding its consultation on national security. The consultation focuses on key elements of Canada’s national security laws and policies “to ensure they reflect the rights, values and freedoms of Canadians.” In particular, the government is looking to inform changes to national security legislation, including changes introduced by the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 (former Bill C-51).

Letter in response to the report of the International Bar Association's Presidential Task Force on the Independence of the Legal Profession
November 2016
The Law Society sent a letter in response to IBA's report that identifies “threats to the bastion of a free and democratic society.”

Report: Principles for the appointment of Justices to the Supreme Court of Canada
July 2016
The Law Society submitted a report to the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould outlining recommended principles for the appointment of Justices to the Supreme Court of Canada. The report, approved by Benchers at their July 8 meeting, sets out four principles that the Law Society views as essential to the process of appointing Justices to the Court: transparency; judicial independence; merit and diversity. The report, along with a letter to the Minister, was sent on July 12, 2016.

Statement on recent events in Turkey
July 2016
The committee encourages the Canadian government to monitor the situation in Turkey as more than 3,000 judges and prosecutors have been detained and suspended.

Attacks on the Access to Legal Advice and What it Means for the Rule of Law: Warnings from China and England
February 2016
The committee explains why lawyers should not be identified with their clients or their clients’ and provides commentary on threats to the rule of law in China and England.

Law Society urges China to respect the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
February 2016
In light of the arrest of 38 lawyers in China, the committee wrote to Minister Wilson-Raybould to urge the government of Canada to communicate their condemnation of the violations to the government of China.

Surveillance of Electronic Communications: “Is there anybody out there?”…Yes there is.
January 2016 (first published in The Advocate)
The committee comments on how government surveillance of communications may pose a threat to solicitor-client privilege.


See a list of past reports from the Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee.