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Public Appearances and Public Statements

The public should be informed about legal cases and public scrutiny of legal cases is an important part of the administration of justice. A lawyer may make public appearances and public statements as long as there is no infringement of the lawyer’s responsibilities to his or her client, the profession, the courts or the administration of justice (section 7.5-1). Public appearances and public statements are an extension of the lawyer’s professional conduct so lawyers must act in the same way they do with clients, other lawyers, the courts and tribunals when making them.

It should also be noted that rule 8.09(1) states:

“A member shall not request or induce attention from or an interview by the media in relation to any judicial, quasi-judicial or other proceeding, hearing or meeting where the member is appearing in a legal capacity unless a client of the member has directed the member to make the request or inducement.”

Commentary [2] under section 7.5-1 reiterates that before making a public appearance or public statement, the lawyer must be satisfied that

  • it would be in the client’s best interest, and
  • it is within the scope of the retainer.

In addition, caution must be exercised to ensure that information that would prejudice a party’s right to a fair hearing or trial is not divulged in a public appearance or public statement (see section 7.5-2).

Further guidance is provided in the remaining commentary under section 7.5-1.


Communication with Public: section 7.5-1 (Code of Professional Conduct)

Interference with Right to Fair Trial or Hearing: section 7.5-2 (Code of Professional Conduct)

Prohibited Activities: rule 8.09 (Law Society Rules)

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(Posted: June 12, 2020)