Self-Regulation, Professional Responsibility and the Duty to Report

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Professional Self-Regulation, Canadian Lawyers, Professional Obligations, Public Interest, Duty to Report Misconduct, Mental Disability


Professional self-regulation, as we all know, is a privilege and not a right. One consequence of this principle is that a profession must ensure that its members serve the public interest. This responsibility requires that the regulators of a profession have systems in place to ensure that the members are qualified, competet and conduct themselves ethically - and that members who are subject to complaints and discipline are provided with effective, efficient and fair complaints and discipline processes.

However, regulators have limited access to relevant information. Therefore, the members of the profession also have a responsibility to ensure that they personally, and their colleagues, also are pursuing the public interest. In other words, there is a professional obligation on members of a profession to monitor each other. It was this obligation that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada attempted to capture when it included a "Duty to Report Misconduct" in its Model Code, first published in 2009.