Dalhousie Law Journal


Canada, lawyer, policy, legal profession, self-regulation, courts, public interest


The question of whether Canadian lawyers ought to be trusted to govern themselves has been repeatedly raised by the public, policy-makers and the academy over the past several decades. The legal profession has responded on a number of fronts, adopting what has been characterized as a "regime of defensive self-regulation." The analysis in this article complements and complicates this account by arguing that, alongside the profession's efforts at defensive self-regulation, there has been a steady stream of aggressive judicial regulation. The central argument of this article is two-fold: first, that courts have come to occupy an increasingly active role as regulators of the Canadian legal profession in the past several decades; and, second, that the measures taken by the courts have resulted in a regulatory regime more attentive to the public interest. In advancing these arguments, this article seeks not only to present a more accurate picture of the current status oflawyer regulation in Canada but also to provide a better foundation from which to discuss future reforms.