Alice Woolley: “Rhetoric and Realities … “

Alice Woolley, “Rhetoric and Realities: What Independence of the Bar Requires of Lawyer Regulation”

For the full paper available on SSRN, click HERE.


The Canadian legal profession is largely self-regulating. Provincial law societies governed by lawyers elected by their peers set the standards for admission to the profession and for ethical conduct, and investigate, prosecute and adjudicate allegations of professional misconduct by lawyers. Advocates for this regulatory structure rely on the concept of “independence of the bar,” the idea that lawyers must be free from any external interference with their representation of clients. Critics of the regulatory structure, meanwhile, argue that independence has a broader meaning than the advocates suppose and that, in any event, the self-regulatory structure of the Canadian profession is not necessary to ensure independence. Continue reading