Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



Book Review, Future Research, Government Lawyers, Legal Ethics, Attorney General


Elizabeth Sanderson’s Government Lawyering: Duties and Ethical Challenges of Government Lawyers is the first comprehensive and long-form assessment of why government lawyers are different than lawyers in private practice and why that difference matters. This book review essay begins by setting out Sanderson’s position on a few concepts key to legal ethics for government lawyers: a definition of government lawyers, an account of the duties that apply to them, and the identity of the client. It then goes on to highlight the book’s four major contributions: an emphasis on the role of the Deputy Attorney General as an interface between the non-partisan public service and the Minister of the day; Sanderson’s extensive reflection on reconciliation; a critique of common comparisons between the role of the Minister of Justice in Canada and in New Zealand; and the suggestion that Parliament could establish a separate regulatory apparatus for federal government lawyers that would remove them from law society jurisdiction. Finally, the review sets out three areas for future research building on Sanderson’s work.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Abbreviation

Dal LJ