Click here to view the 2012-13 membership list for the Legal Ethics and Practice Committee.
The mandate of the Legal Ethics and Practice Committee, as set out in the Rules of the Law Society of Nunavut, is
- to maintain and promote high ethical standards by lawyers, and
- to investigate and make recommendations respecting persons engaged in the unauthorized practice of law;
- to perform any additional duties assigned by the Executive.
The Law Society of Nunavut is committed to maintaining high ethical standards. Lawyers in Nunavut are obliged to follow the Code of Professional Conduct of the Canadian Bar Association.
The Code explains what is expected of lawyers (at vii-iii):
The essence of professional responsibility is that the lawyer must act at all times _ with
utmost good faith to the court, to the client, to other lawyers, and to members of the
public. Given the many and varied demands to which the lawyer is subject, it is inevitable
that problems will arise. No set of rules can foresee every possible situation, but the
ethical principles set out in the Code are intended to provide a framework within which
the lawyer may, with courage and dignity, provide the high quality of legal services that a
complex and ever-changing society demands.
The Code sets out various rules of conduct covering a wide range of issues, from conscientious service to the client, confidentiality of client information, fees, and conflicts of interest between the lawyer and client, to the lawyer’s role as an advocate and as an officer of the court, to lawyers having interests and businesses outside the practice of law.
The Legal Ethics and Practice Committee fulfills the ethics aspect of its mandate by focusing on promoting the ethical standards set out in the Code. It is the mandate of the Discipline Committee to investigate complaints against lawyers who allegedly fail to meet those standards.
Only licensed lawyers can practice law in Canada. The Law Society of Nunavut licenses its members to practice law in Nunavut if they have met the educational and professional requirements to practice law. Practicing law without a license is called the unauthorized practice of law.
Members of the public can risk serious legal and financial consequences by entrusting legal matters to unlicensed persons. Lawyers engaged in the unauthorized practice of law may not be subject to ethical standards and other regulatory requirements, and may not carry errors and omissions insurance. Meanwhile, non-lawyers lack the education necessary to give legal advice or perform legal services.
The Legal Ethics and Practice Committee fulfills the practice aspect of its mandate by investigating allegations of persons engaging in the unauthorized practice of law and making recommendations about how to handle those allegations to the Executive.
If you have a concern about possible unethical or unauthorized practice, please contact us at the Law Society of Nunavut office.