Annotated Professional Conduct Handbook – archived

Last revised: June 2012

(See Highlights of amendments for a summary of changes to the Handbook.)

Download a PDF of the Professional Conduct Handbook (as of December 2012).

 

Note: The Professional Conduct Handbook was replaced January 1, 2013 with the new Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia (the BC Code). See also the Table of Concordance between BC Code and the Professional Conduct Handbook

Table of Contents

Introduction to the annotated Handbook

Chapter 1 – Canons of Legal Ethics

  1.  To the state
  2.  To courts and tribunals
  3.  To the client
  4.  To other lawyers
  5.  To oneself

Chapter 2 – Integrity

  1.  Dishonourable conduct
  2.  Duty to meet financial obligations
  3.  Discrimination

Chapter 3 – Competence, Quality of Service and Relationship to Clients

  1.  Knowledge and skill
2.1  Client capacity
2.4  Lack of capacity
  3.  Quality of service
  4.  Seeking assistance
  5.  Promptness
  6.  Duty of lawyer and law firm when a change affects clients
13.  Pro bono

Chapter 4 – Avoiding Questionable Conduct, Including Improper Communications

  1.  Dealing with unrepresented persons
1.1  Communication with clients of other lawyers
  2.  Threatening criminal or disciplinary proceedings
  3.  Coercion, improper influence or offering compensation to avoid prosecution
  5.  Errors and omissions
  6.  Dishonesty, crime or fraud of client
  7.  Restricting future representation
  8.  Public representations

Chapter 5 – Confidential Information

  1.  Duty of confidentiality
  5.  Confidential information not to be used
  9.  Confidential government information
11.  Disclosure authorized by client
12.  Disclosure to prevent a crime
13.  Disclosure required by law
15.  Use of opponent's documents
16.  Incapacity

Chapter 6 – Conflicts of Interest Between Clients

  1.  General principles
  4.  Acting for two or more clients
6.1  Space-sharing arrangements
6.3  Acting against a current client
  7.  Acting against a former client
7.01 Limited representation
7.1  Conflicts arising as a result of transfer between law firms
7.2  Application of Rules
7.4  Firm disqualification
7.5  Continued representation not to involve transferring lawyer
7.8  Determination of compliance
7.9  Due diligence
  8.  Finders' fees
  9.  Acting as a family law mediator
10.  Real property conveyancing transactions

Chapter 7 – Conflicts of Interest Between Lawyer and Client

  1.  Direct or indirect financial interest
  2.  Financial or membership interest in the client
  3.  Transaction with a client
  4.  Client loan, credit or guarantee
  5.  Financial interest in a client
  6.  Ancillary business or occupation
  7.  Investing a client's funds

Chapter 7.1 – Preservation of Client Valuables

  1.  Definitions
  2.  Application of chapter
  3.  Duty of safekeeping
  4.  Notice to client
  5.  Adequate measures
  6.  Return of valuables

Chapter 8 – The Lawyer as Advocate

  1.  Prohibited conduct
  2.  Offering to give false testimony
  6.  Inconsistent statements or testimony
  7.  Duty to withdraw
  9.  The lawyer as witness
12.  Interviewing witnesses
14.  Contacting an opponent's expert
18.  Duties of prosecutor
19.  Judicial interim release
20.  Representation of an accused on guilty plea
21.  Role in without notice proceedings
22.  Former judge or master
23.  Public representations

Chapter 9 – Fees

0.1  Definition
  1.  Excessive fees
  2.  Referral fees
  4.  Prepaid legal services plan
  5.  Apportionment of fees
  6.  Sharing fees
  7.  Hidden fees

Chapter 10 – Withdrawal

0.1  Definition
  1.  Obligatory withdrawal
  2.  Optional withdrawal
  3.  Residual right to withdraw
  6.  Withdrawal for non-payment of fee
  8.  Procedure for withdrawal
  9.  Confidentiality
10.  Limited retainer

Chapter 11 – Responsibility to Other Lawyers

  5.  Fulfilling professional commitments
  6.  Responding to correspondence from other lawyers
  7.  Undertakings and trust conditions
  8.  Trust cheques
8.1  Real estate transactions
  9.  Conditional undertakings
10.  Imposed undertakings
12.  Proceeding in default
13.  Acting against another lawyer
14.  Tape recording and monitoring conversations
15.  Threatening to report another lawyer
22.  Restrictive covenants

Chapter 12 – Supervision

  1.  Direct supervision required
  2.  Definitions
  3.  Delegation 
10.  Real estate assistants

Chapter 13 – Responsibility to the Law Society

  1.  Reporting another lawyer to the Law Society
  3.  Regulatory compliance
  4.  The Law Society's disciplinary and competence procedures
  5.  Associating with a person whose character and fitness are in question
  6.  Apparent partnerships and associations

Chapter 14 – Marketing of Legal Services

  1.  Application of Chapter
  2.  Definitions
  4.  Content and format of marketing activities
  5.  Examples
 7.2 Former firm of current judge or master
  8.  Notary Public
10.  Designation
16.  Preferred areas of practice
18.  Specialization
22.  Real estate sales
23.  Multi-disciplinary practice

Appendix 1 – Affidavits and Solemn Declarations

  1.  Affidavits and solemn declarations
  2.  Witnessing the execution of an instrument

Appendix 2 – Family Law Mediation

  1.  Definitions
  3.  Disqualifications
  4.  Mediator's duties
  5.  Written agreement

Appendix 3 – Real Property Transactions

  1.  Application
  2.  Acting for parties with different interests
  3.  Simple conveyance
  6.  Advice and consent
  7.  Foreclosure proceedings
  8.  Unrepresented parties in a real property transaction

Appendix 4 – Duty of Lawyer on Termination of Employment

  1.  Letter from departing lawyer
  2.  Letter from law firm

Appendix 5 – Conflicts Arising as a Result of Transfer Between Law Firms

  1.  Matters to consider when interviewing a potential transferee
  2.  Matters to consider before hiring a potential transferee
       (a)  If a conflict does exist
       (b)  If no conflict exists
       (c)  If the new law firm is not sure whether a conflict exists
  3.  Reasonable measures to ensure non-disclosure of confidential information Guidelines
Guidelines

Appendix 6 – Acting for Two or More Clients

  1.  Sample letter where lawyer acts jointly for two or more clients
  2.  Sample letter where lawyer acts jointly for more than two clients

Appendix 7 – Supervision of Paralegals

  1.  Key concepts
  2.  Best practices for supervising paralegals
  7.  Best practices for training paralegals
13.  A checklist for assessing the competence of paralegals