Twenty Years After Krieger v Law Society of Alberta: Law Society Discipline of Crown Prosecutors and Government Lawyers
Krieger v. Law Society of Alberta held that provincial and territorial law societies have disciplinary jurisdiction over Crown prosecutors for conduct outside of prosecutorial discretion. The reasoning in Krieger would also apply to government lawyers. The apparent consensus is that law societies rarely exercise that jurisdiction. But in those rare instances, what conduct do Canadian law societies discipline Crown prosecutors and government lawyers for? In this article, I canvass reported disciplinary decisions to demonstrate that, while law societies sometimes discipline Crown prosecutors for violations unique to those lawyers, they often do so for violations applicable to all lawyers — particularly extraprofessional misconduct. Further research remains necessary on the patterns and incentives underlying law society discipline of Crown prosecutors and government lawyers. Nonetheless, the relative rarity of disciplinary proceedings involving Crown prosecutors and government lawyers does not necessarily mean that law societies are neglecting their statutory mandate as it applies to those lawyers. At the same time, law societies may indeed be overly reliant not only on internal discipline of these lawyers by governments as their employers, but also on criminal proceedings as prompts for investigation and discipline.
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