In Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, a majority of the Supreme Court of Canada surprised many legal observers by choosing to recognize a new principle of fundamental justice pursuant to section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: a lawyer’s duty of commitment to a client’s cause. In this article, I critique the majority’s choice to recognize this new principle of fundamental justice after first reviewing the Court’s reasons and their background.
At issue in this case was the constitutionality of the federal government’s statutory regime for preventing and investigating money laundering and terrorist financing to the extent that the regime applied to lawyers. Broadly speaking, the provisions at issue involved: (1) client identification and record-keeping obligations; and (2) authorization for warrantless searches of lawyers’ offices. The Court found that these provisions breached both sections 7 and 8 of the Charter in a manner not justifiable under section 1.
"A False Start in Constitutionalizing Lawyer Loyalty in Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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