Professor Noel Semple has commented on a British Columbia Court of Appeal ruling that the Law Society of B.C.’s decision to publicly name a lawyer who received a citation for professional misconduct was “unreasonable” because the process was not transparent and adequately explained.
According to the Canadian Lawyer Magazine article, however, the three-judge panel ruled the matter should be remitted to the regulatory body rather than letting stand a chambers judge ruling that quashes the society’s decision to name the lawyer.
Professor Semple says the B.C. case demonstrates the importance of having “a clear policy that is understood by lawyers.” He adds, “it’s unfortunate, just as a matter of procedure, that there have been so many hearings and decisions on this one case — clearer guidelines would help.”
A lawyer’s reputation is “their bread and butter,” says Professor Semple, “but if the law society has good reason to believe something is seriously wrong, it would be damaging to keep that under wraps until the entire process is completed.”