The Law Society’s Ethics Committee recently released the following Professional Conduct Ruling as guidance for the profession. For your convenience, I’ve listed the ruling below but it can also be found in our Professional Conduct Rulings Database.
Date: November 30, 2017
Cite as: 2017 SKLSPC 1
Classification: Confidential Information, Rule 3.3-1
Practice Area: Family Law
Lawyer X represents Client A with respect to the separation and divorce from Client B. Client B was in the process of obtaining a new lawyer, and as such, Lawyer X was corresponding with Client B directly via email. Lawyer X was in possession of emails and documentation directly from Client B.
At the request of Client A, Lawyer X copied Client A’s child, Child A, on all correspondence to Client A. Client B became aware that Child A was receiving correspondence, when in addition to Client A, Child A was copied on a relatively mundane email from Lawyer X to Client B, attempting to move the matter forward. Client B took the position that Child A should have nothing to do with the divorce settlement, or any correspondence between the parties.
The Ethics Committee determined that Lawyer X had the consent of Client A to share the information with Client A’s child, Child A. Further the Committee agreed that it is customary for a client to have other family members involved in the family law process. It is not abnormal or improper to include a family member on an email with a matter that relates to that family member, with the client’s consent. The Ethics Committee further noted that Lawyer X has an obligation of confidentiality to Client A; however, Client B is the opposing party, to whom Lawyer X has little to no duty.
The Ethics Committee determined that there is no merit to this complaint.