This Week in Legal Ethics – New Ethics Ruling

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LegalEthicsBannerBy Melanie Hodges Neufeld

The Law Society’s Ethics Committee recently released the following Ethics Ruling as guidance for the profession. For your convenience, I’ve listed the ruling below but it can also be found in our Ethics Rulings Database.

If you have any questions or concerns  regarding this post, please contact the Law Society at (306) 569-8242 or 1-833-733-0133.

Date:                           June 26, 2018
Cite as:                        2018 SKLSPC 6
Code Chapter:           3.4
Code Heading:          Conflicts
Classification:            Acting Against Former Clients
Practice Area:            Family Law; Criminal

Facts:

Lawyer X defended Client A previously on an assault charge. Client A allegedly assaulted an ex-partner/employee/roommate and alcohol was a factor.

Lawyer X began representing Client B, Client A’s spouse, in separation proceedings against Client A. The Petition contains allegations relating to alcohol.

Client A, through counsel, raised the issue of conflict of interest with Lawyer X.

Lawyer X believes that Lawyer X represented Client A on an entirely unrelated matter and therefore, there is no conflict.

Client A believes that Lawyer X has personal information about Client A which can be used against Client A in the family law matter.

Decision:

The Ethics Committee determined that Lawyer X previously represented Client A, a now-opposing party, on a matter in which some circumstances are related to those presented in the current separation proceedings.  Accordingly, the Committee agreed that there is sufficient overlap between the two matters that Lawyer X may have confidential information from the prior representation of Client A that may prejudice Client A in the current proceedings. The two actions are not wholly unrelated.  The Committee determined that Lawyer X is in a conflict of interest pursuant to Rule 3.4-10(c) by representing Client B in the matter against Client A.