When You Must Withdraw Services

Pursuant to Code of Conduct Rule 3.7-5, you must withdraw your legal services if:

  • your client discharges you;
  • your client persists in instructing you to act in a manner contrary to professional ethics, which may include your client asking you to put misleading evidence before the court or your client taking a position solely to harass or maliciously injure another; 
  • your continued involvement puts you in a conflict of interest; or
  • you are not competent to continue to handle the matter.

With respect to professional ethics, it is important to remember that your ethical obligations extend beyond a duty to advocate for your client. For instance, you also have ethical obligations to the court / tribunal and for the overall proper administration of justice (Rules 5.1-2, 2.1-1, and 5.6-1 of the Code).  These obligations include a duty of candour and honesty before the court / tribunal. For example, you cannot continue to act for your client if doing so would result in you misleading the court or tribunal by presenting or relying on what you know to be false affidavit evidence (Rule 5.1-2(g) of the Code).

You must provide the client with reasonable notice in the circumstances that you and your firm are no longer acting for them. You must then also address what other steps you are required to take if you are the lawyer of record as described in Chapter 2 under Statutory/Procedural Obligations.

Last modified: Tuesday, 22 August 2023, 1:48 PM