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Notice to Members: Amendments to the Code of Professional Conduct

At the December Convocation, Benchers approved amendments to the Code of Professional Conduct. The changes include the adoption of new rules and revised rules as outlined below.

(i) Language Rights Rules; Appendix (A)
add new Rules 3.2-2A and 3.2-2B

The new language rights rules require lawyers to advise their clients of their right to proceed in the official language of their choice.

(ii) Incriminating Physical Evidence Rules; Appendix (B)
revise Rules 3.5-7 and 5.1-2; and
add new Rule 5.1-2A

The new rule on incriminating physical evidence prohibits the concealment, destruction or alteration of incriminating physical evidence; prohibits any obstruction of the course of justice; and provides guidance for lawyers to ensure protection of the public interest.

(iii) Conflicts of Interest: Short term Legal Services; Appendix (C)
revise Rule 3.1-2; and
add new Rules 3.4-2A, 3.4-2B, 3.4-2C and 3.4-2D

The new short-term summary legal services rules will facilitate the access to legal services work of a wide range of not-for-profit legal service providers.

(iv) Conflicts of Interest:
(a) General Provisions; Appendix (D)
revise Rules 1.1-1, 3.4-1, 3.4-2, 3.4-4, 3.4-10, 3.4-11 and 3.6-8

(b) Transfer Between Law Firms; Appendix (E)
add new Rule 3.3-7; and
revise Rules 3.4-17, 3.4-18, 3.4-19, 3.4-20, 3.4-21, 3.4-22 and 3.4-23

(c) Doing Business with Clients; Appendix (F)
revise Rules 3.4-27, 3.4-28, 3.4-29, 3.4-30, 3.4-31, 3.4-32, 3.4-33, 3.4-34, 3.4-35, 3.4-36, 3.4-37, 3.4-38 and 3.4-39

The amendments to the conflicts of interest rules incorporate principles flowing from the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Canadian National Railway Co. v. McKercher LLP, 2013 SCC 39 (CanLIl), and revise the rules governing lawyers transferring between law firms and lawyers doing business with clients.

Excerpts from the Code of Professional Conduct with the amendments noted in red are appended.

The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador Code of Professional Conduct (Code) is available on the Society’s website at

Please note that the amendments are effective on January 15, 2016, on which date the amended Code of Professional Conduct will be available on-line.

Members are further advised that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada has launched the Interactive Model Code of Professional Conduct, an online tool that links the provisions in the Federation’s Model Code to the matching or related rules of professional conduct in every law society in Canada.

This interactive tool will allow mobile lawyers, law society staff and leaders, academic researchers and others to quickly and easily find the enforceable rules in every Canadian jurisdiction using the national Model Code as the central reference point. Users will be able to isolate specific sections of the Federation’s Model Code and view the corresponding code of conduct of another jurisdiction. Members may access the interactive tool at

Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F