Legal Ethics, Attorney General, Government Lawyers, Manitoba, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
In Schmidt v Canada (Attorney General), government lawyer Edgar Schmidt sought a declaration that the Department of Justice and the Minister of Justice were misinterpreting legislation requiring the Minister to inform the House of Commons if government bills are inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Schmidt was one of the lawyers who made recommendations under that legislation. Schmidt thus presents an unusual case study in legal ethics: what should, or can, a lawyer do when a client rejects the lawyer’s advice? What if the client is the government, and the advice is about fundamental rights? This comment considers Schmidt’s conduct in three respects: as a lawyer, as a delegate of the Attorney General, and as a public servant. While Schmidt violated his duty as a lawyer, this comment explains why he can nonetheless be seen as a folk hero in pursuit of the public interest, perhaps as a delegate of the Attorney General (from a legal perspective) or as a whistleblowing public servant (from the perspective of the public and the media).
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
Andrew Flavelle Martin, "Folk Hero or Legal Pariah? A Comment on the Legal Ethics of Edgar Schmidt and Schmidt v Canada (Attorney General)" (2020) 43:2 Man LJ 198.