Regulating Lawyer Competence and Quality of Service


  • Gavin MacKenzie Partner, Heenan Blaikie LLP, Toronto; Treasurer, Law Society of Upper Canada



Law societies serve two central roles: the regulation of ethical standards in legal practice and the enforcement of competent legal practice. Despite having these two functions, the focus of Canadian law societies has tended to centre on ethics, while the enforcement of competence has often been overlooked. The author examines various Canadian law societies’ rules of professional conduct. He then considers possible solutions to the problem of lawyer incompetence, including the implementation by law societies of programs directed towards prevention, such as continuing legal education and practice review programs, in order to ensure competent legal practice.