A Woolley: Independence of the Bar and the Prevention of Money-Laundering

On ABLawg, May 8, 2013, Alice Woolley considered:  Federation of Law Societies of Canada v Canada (Attorney General) 2013 BCCA 147.


On April 4, 2013 the British Columbia Court of Appeal issued its decision in Federation of Law Societies of Canada v Canada (Attorney General), 2013 BCCA 147 which upheld the earlier decision of a chambers judge that aspects of Canada’s money-laundering legislation violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and cannot be saved under section 1.

In her initial judgment (2011 BCSC 1270) the chambers judge held that aspects of the money-laundering regime undermined the lawyer-client relationship and, in particular, eroded the solicitor-client privilege, which created an unjustified violation of section 7 (para 144). Because the alternative regime implemented by the provincial law societies was an effective alternative that had a more minimal effect on the liberty interests of clients, the money-laundering regime could not be saved under section 1. The law societies’ regulation ensured “that proportionate and dissuasive criminal, civil or administrative sanctions be available for non-compliance with anti-money laundering requirements” (para 154).

To continue reading, and for a PDF of her analysis, click HERE

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