S.G.A. Pitel & W. Bortolin: Revising Canada’s Ethical Rules for Judges Returning to Practice

Judges and ethics have been in the news a lot lately.

Slaw posted an excerpt from the Pitel and Bortolin article “Revising Canada’s Ethical Rules for Judges Returning to Practice” as the Thursday Thinkpiece on January 10, 2013, at Slaw.ca.

The full article can be found on SSRN if you click HERE, in in print (2011) 34 Dalhousie Law Journal 483 Excerpt: pp. 515-520

It has recently become more common for retired Canadian judges to return to the practice of law. This development raises an array of ethical considerations and potential threats to the integrity of the administration of justice. Although most codes of legal ethics contemplate the possibility of former judges returning to practice, the rules on this particular topic are dated, under-analyzed, and generally inadequate. This article reviews the Canadian ethical rules that specifically relate to former judges and identifies their shortcomings. In doing so, the authors consider, for comparative purposes, Canadian ethical rules directed at former public officers who return to practice and American rules directed at former judges. These rules have been developed in a different context, but involve many of the same issues and are more comprehensive. Following this analysis, the authors propose a series of new rules for judges who return to practice. These rules are not intended as the final word on the subject, but rather as starting points for further discussion of the issues involved. They illustrate the competing considerations with which law societies need to grapple as more judges return to practice.

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