The Limits of a Lawyer’s Duty to their Client
As many of you already know, Lawyers can be extremely useful in various situations. Some of the ways they can help you include writing your will, buying your first house, starting a civil claim for you, or even defending you in court. Lawyers are so helpful because they know the law, have experience in the field you require, and know how to navigate the legal system. Therefore, when you hire a Lawyer, you are asking them to use their knowledge and expertise to help protect or further your interest. This results in the Lawyer owing you a duty to act in your best interest.
However, one of the largest misconceptions about a Lawyer’s duty to their client, is that it is limitless. That is to say, clients sometimes feel that by hiring a Lawyer, the Lawyer is bound to do whatever the client requests, which is not the case. Although Lawyers are supposed to advocate for their client’s position, there are certain limits to this duty. Hiring a Lawyer is not the same as hiring a hit-man, regardless of the amount of money you pay them. Lawyers have to draw the line somewhere, which is reflected fairly clearly in the Code of Professional Conduct, written by the Law Society of Alberta. This Code sets out all the rules and regulations which all Albertan Lawyers are bound by. The purpose of these rules and limits on a Lawyers actions, is to protect the public interest.
Some examples of a Lawyer’s limits to representation are as follows:
Overall, although Lawyers are here to help you with your legal problems, they also have a duty to the courts, to the profession and to the general public. So please, do not put your Lawyer between a rock and a hard place by asking them to do things such as lie, be unreasonable or commit a crime. These types of requests force your Lawyer to choose between their duty to you as a client, and their duty to others, which could affect your ability to find good representation.
By Eryn J. Cunningham
This document is intended to be used for information purposes only.
Due to the ever changing nature of law, you should consult with one of our lawyers if you have specific legal questions.
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