Manitoba, Attorney General, confidentiality, legal ethics, legislatures, legislators, politics
This note uses a recent incident from Manitoba to reflect on the professional duty of confidentiality owed to the Crown by a former Attorney General as lawyer. The duty of confidentiality survives the lawyer-client relationship. As a fiduciary, the lawyer cannot disclose or use the client’s confidential information for her own benefit or the benefit of a third party, or against the client. These obligations constrain the former Attorney General in her conduct as an opposition legislator and suggest that she should not accept an appointment as Justice critic for her caucus. While parliamentary privilege protects the former Attorney General who breaches these obligations in the legislature from professional consequences, as an opposition legislator she is particularly vulnerable to consequences within the legislature.
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Andrew Flavelle Martin, "From Attorney General to Backbencher or Opposition Legislator: The Lawyer’s Continuing Duty of Confidentiality to the Former Client" (2020) 43:2 Man LJ 247.