Ethics, Legal Professionalism and Reconciliation: Enacting Reconciliation Through Civility

Nicholas Healey

Abstract


A critical engagement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, and the obligations they place upon law societies and legal professionals, was conducted. This article addresses the concept of intercultural competency under Call to Action 27, delineating doctrinal barriers and possibilities for the fulfillment of these obligations under current systems of lawyers’ ethical and professional regulation.

I argue that current competence requirements, as set out in Canadian law societies’ codes of conduct, are too limited to fulfill the Call to Action alone. Duties of civility, however, are argued to present potential for achieving reconciliation. This productive potential derives from the broad scope of civility requirements, civility requirements’ role in promoting access to justice, and the unique ability of civility requirements to implicate lawyers within an embodied approach to the ethics of reconciliation. Critical attention is also shown to be necessary to prevent duties of civility being used to marginalize Indigenous peoples as they have done historically.


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