The Relationship Between A Lawyer & His Client

People may not know about the work of lawyers but they may understand client confidentiality and the basic idea of a lawyer. Lawyers need to be careful and maintain the client’s privacy not as a legal requirement but as part of the lawyer’s code of conduct. If a situation arises when the lawyer has to disclose the information as a legal obligation or as the client’s request he may do so. This is an important part of the case since the lawyer needs the client needs to fully open up to a lawyer before he can actually help him. Clients should be able to be honest and free with their lawyers, which is the reason this rule was set in place. This rule is very widely applicable. This rule also enables the client to keep his dealings with the lawyer a secret.

The confidentiality rule continues to exist even after the lawyer no longer acts for the client. Gossip about files has to be avoided, even if the client is not specifically named. The identity of the client is more often than not, revealed in a small town.

In case a lawyer feels that breaking the rule will stop a crime from happening he may do so. For example, if client states that they intend to steal a car, the lawyer can contact the authorities if they choose.

If violence is involved the lawyer is required to inform the proper authorities at any cost. The lawyer should call the police if he discovers that the client intends to rob a bank. In these cases, protection of the public is more important than the right to secrecy.

A client, who acknowledges a past crime to a lawyer, puts the lawyer in a difficult situation. In those cases, there is nothing that can be done to prevent the crime at that point, and so the lawyer is required to keep that information secret. The situation worsens if a client robs a bank and then immediately confides with his lawyer.

This exception was highlighted when a similar case actually took place. A lawyer had video footage which could have got a murder victim arrested but he chose to keep it hidden for seventeen months. That case caused a lot of controversy and forced the Law Society of Upper Canada to review its rules on lawyer and client confidentiality.

Lawyers also have a duty to ensure that their secretaries and office staff understand and adhere to the importance of the confidentiality rule. Due to lack of awareness, many people do not know that the data in the court files is accessible to the general public. These court documents should therefore not contain any information which needs to be hidden from the public.

If anybody related to or the lawyer himself benefits from the confidentiality agreement then it is a violation of the rule. Lawyers see a lot of activity in the course of their career but if they ever decide to pen down a memoir it must not contain any disclosure of information gained during a professional relationship. Lawyers have to stick to writing fiction.

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