AuthorAllan C. Hutchinson
The lawyer must disch arge with integrity all duties owed to clients, t he
court or tribunal or other members of the profession and the public.1
Commentar y
Guiding Principles
1. Integrity is the fundamental quality of any person who seeks to
practise as a member of t he legal profession. If the client is in any
doubt about the lawyer’s trustworthiness, the essential element in
the lawyer-client relationship will be missing. If personal integrity
is lacking the lawyer’s usefulness to the cl ient and reputation with-
in the profession wil l be destroyed regardless of how competent the
lawyer may be.2
2. The principle of integrity i s a key element of each rule of the
Disciplinary Action
3. Dishonourable or questionable conduct on the part of the lawyer
in either private li fe or professional practice will ref‌lect adversely
upon the lawyer, the integrity of t he legal profession and the ad-
ministr ation of justice as a whole. If the conduct, whether within or
outside the professional sphere, is such t hat knowledge of it would
be likely to impair the client’s trust in the lawyer as a profes sional
consultant, a governing b ody may be justif‌ied in taking disciplin-
ary action.4
Non-Professional Activit ies
4. Generally speaki ng, however, a govern ing body will not be con-
cerned with the purely private or extra-professional activities of
a lawyer that do not bring i nto question the integrity of the legal
profession or the lawyer’s professional integrity or competence.
5. Illustrations of conduct that may infringe the Rule (and often other
provisions of thi s Code) include:
(a) committing any persona lly disgraceful or morally reprehensible
offence that ref‌lects upon the law yer’s integrity (of which a con-
viction by a competent court would be prima facie evidence);
(b) committing, whether professional ly or in the lawyer’s per son-
al capacity, any act of fraud or dishonesty, e.g., by knowingly
making a false tax return or falsi fying a document, whether or
not prosecuted for so doing;
(c) making an untr ue representation or concealing a material fact
from a client, with a dishonest or improper motive;
(d) taking advantage of the youth, inexperience, lack of education
or sophistication, ill healt h, or unbusinesslike habits of a client;
(e) misappropriating or dealing dishonestly wit h a client’s money
or other property;
(f) receiving money or other propert y from or on behalf of a client
for a specif‌ic purpose and failing, without the client’s consent,
to pay or apply it for that purpose;
(g) knowi ngly assisting, enabling or permitting any person to act
fraudulently, dishonestly or illegally;
(h) failing to be absolutely frank and c andid in all dealings with
the Court or tribunal, fellow lawyers, and other partie s to pro-
ceedings, subject always to not betray ing the client’s cause,
abandoning the client’s legal rights or di sclosing the client’s
conf‌idences; and
(i) failing to honour the lawyer’s word when pledged even though,
under technical rule s, the absence of writing might afford a
legal defence.
1 ABA-MC Canon 1; B.C. 2; N.B. 1-R, 1-C.1; Ont. 6.01(1); N.S. 1-R; Que. 2.0 0.01,
3.02.01. Oxford English Dictionary (2d ed.) s.v. “ integrity”: “Soundness of mor al
principle; the ch aracter of uncorrupted v irtue, esp. in relation to tr uth and fair
dealing; upri ghtness, honesty, sincerity.”
Appendix: CB A Code of Professional Conduct 221
2 Ont. 6.01(1) Com mentary; N.S. 1.1.
3 N.B. 1-C.2.
4 ABA-MC DR 1-101; N.B. 1-C.3; N.S. 1.2.
1. The lawyer owes the client a duty to be competent to perform any
legal services undertaken on the client’s behalf.1
2. The lawyer should serve the client in a conscientious, diligent and
eff‌icient manner so as to prov ide a quality of service at least equal
to that which lawyers genera lly would expect of a competent law-
yer in a like situation.2
Commentar y
Knowledge and Skill
1. Competence in the context of the f‌irst branch of thi s Rule goes
beyond formal qualif‌ication to practise law. It has to do with the
suff‌iciency of the lawyer’s qualif‌ications to deal with the matter in
question. It includes knowledge, skill, and the ability to use them
effectively in the interest s of the client.3
2. As members of the legal profession, law yers hold themselves out
as being knowledgeable, skilled and capable in the practice of law.
The client is entitled to assume th at the lawyer has the abilit y and
capacity to deal adequately with any legal matters undertaken on
the client’s behalf.4
3. The lawyer should not undertake a matter wit hout honestly feeling
either competent to handle it, or able to become competent without
undue delay, risk or expense to the client. The law yer who pro-
ceeds on any other basis is not being honest with the client. This is
an ethical considerat ion and is to be distingui shed from the stan-
dard of care that a court would apply for purposes of determining
4. Competence involves more than an understandi ng of legal prin-
ciples; it involves a n adequate knowledge of t he practice and pro-
cedures by wh ich those principles can be ef fectively applied. To
accomplish th is, the lawyer should ke ep abreast of developments in
all areas in which the lawyer practise s. The lawyer should also de-
velop and maintain a facility with advances in technology in areas

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