New Scholarship: Full Disclosure: Family Violence and Legal Ethics

CALE member Deanne Sowter has a new article up on SSRN. Abstract is below:

Abstract

Family violence creates ethical challenges for all family law lawyers, but it creates unique challenges for collaborative lawyers. Two of the tenets of collaborative practice are good faith and transparency. Two of the fundamental professional duties for lawyers are the duty of loyalty and the near-absolute obligation to keep client confidences. These ideas are at odds with each other, and the impact is problematic where there is family violence. This paper looks at the duties of loyalty and confidentiality, the contractual obligation in collaborative practice of full disclosure, and the presence of family violence. It looks specifically at the ethical challenges that arise when disclosing information pursuant to the collaborative practice participation agreement that create risk of harm for a spouse when there is family violence. Collaborative practice is still in its infancy in Canada, and without regulation, the options lawyers have when there are ethical challenges due to family violence are not conducive to meeting client interests, including promoting safety. Ultimately, this paper presents a solution in the form of collaborative practice legislation, amendments to the Model Code, and practice guidelines. The focus of the paper is collaborative practice, but some of this discussion is relevant to non-CP family lawyers as well, so where possible the recommendations are broad enough to include all family law lawyers.

Call for Papers: ILEC 2020

The next International Legal Ethics Conference will be held July 23-25, 2020 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  This major legal ethics conference is held every two years.  Recent previous conferences include Melbourne (2018), Fordham (2016) and City University London (2014).

The organizers have now issued a call for proposals (available here), which includes both papers and other kinds of presentation such as panel discussions.  Proposals are due by January 31, 2020.  The theme is “Lawyers in Divided Times”.

It would be great to see a strong Canadian contingent in California next summer.