M Mercer: I gotta tell ya, it’s complicated! Candour Owed to Clients

Malcolm Mercer has posted an interesting comment on the duty of candour on the SLAW website.  For the full comment, click HERE

 

In R. v. Neil, Justice Binnie stated that the duty of candour was an aspect of the duty of loyalty. As Justice Binnie put it, an aspect of the duty of loyalty is

a duty of candour with the client on matters relevant to the retainer

The fiduciary duty of candour was the basis for the earlier decision of the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to physicians in McInerney v. MacDonald,

While not previously said quite so plainly, it has long been clear that fiduciaries owe a duty of candour to their beneficiaries. As the B.C. Court of Appeal said in Ocean City Realty Ltd. v. A & M Holdings Ltd.2 (cited with approval by the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Raso v. Dionigi3):

The obligation of the agent to make full disclosure … includes “everything known to him respecting the subject matter of the contract which would be likely to influence the conduct of his principal” (Canada Permanent Trust Co. v Christie) or, as expressed in 1 Hals., 3rd ed, p. 191, para. 443, everything which “. . would be likely to operate upon the principal’s judgment”. ..

This fiduciary duty is mirrored in the Federation of Law Societies Model Code by Rule 3.2-2 which states:

When advising a client, a lawyer must be honest and candid and must inform the client of all information known to the lawyer that may affect the interests of the client in the matter.

But like many other statements of professional standards that seem obviously true when stated generally, it just isn’t quite that simple in real life.

To continue reading, click HERE.

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