Protecting Clients from Conflict-of-Interest Matters


In Summer 2021, Joanne Moser represented a client in a conflict-of-interest matter. There are provisions in the Code of Professional conduct that state a lawyer cannot act against a former client on the same subject matter unless waived. 2 years ago, an individual met with a lawyer at a neighbouring firm where they were given free legal advice by a pro-bono lawyer. At this consultation, they received advice about their spouse and indicated signs of domestic violence. This individual also stated that the lawyer offered to open a file for the case, although the lawyer could not remember this. Two-years later, this individual’s spouse was represented by a lawyer at the same firm that the that gave the legal advice at the consultation. The individual came to Joanne Moser where they were informed it was a conflict-of-interest matter. The Code of Conduct has an exception to conflict of interest regarding pro-bono clinics, with the underlying rational being to encourage lawyers to give back to their community. The opposing lawyer argued that because it was pro bono legal advice being distributed, that they should be exempt. Ms. Moser proved that the lawyer offered to open a file and had more than a brief description of the case, the judge decided it was in fact a conflict-of-interest. The judge stated that a reasonable member of the public would find it unacceptable for the firm to represent Joanne’s client’s spouse and ordered the spouse to find new representation.

For more information about your Family Law questions contacts us at:

Phone: 1-306-359-0202

Fax: 306-359-0330