Developments in the Legal Profession: Lizotte, Alberta and Green and the Growing Power of Privilege and Professional Regulators


This article discusses the implications of three decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada in its 2016-2017 term that touch directly upon the “law of lawyers”, that is, privilege issues and legal professional regulation. Lizotte v. Aviva Insurance Company of Canada and Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. University of Calgary reaffirm the significant protection our courts accord to both solicitor-client and litigation privilege, such that a legislative provision will not abrogate the privilege unless it is “clear, explicit and unequivocal” in its intention to do so. In Green v. Law Society of Manitoba, the Court confirmed that, in light of its statutory mandate to protect the public interest in the provision of legal services, a law society has authority to mandate licensees to complete continuing professional development activities, and to enforce this requirement by suspending lawyers who fail to comply. While all three decisions clarify the law, they also raise interesting questions about where the law of privilege is headed, and how professional regulators may respond to this affirmation of their authority.

Brooke MacKenzie – MacKenzie Barristers P.C. | University of Toronto – Faculty of Law

Full paper available here.

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