Guidelines and supplementary resources for lawyers acting in Aboriginal residential school cases are now available. The guidelines are an important educational tool to assist lawyers.
A number of issues specific to representation of Aboriginal residential school abuse claimants and the professional conduct expectations for lawyers, with appropriate references to the Rules of Professional Conduct, are highlighted.
The issues discussed include:
- the special nature of claimants' cases
- the unique demands that these cases put on the lawyer and other law office staff
- competence to act prior to accepting clients in these matters
- culturally appropriate methods in making legal services available to claimants
- clear communication and client comprehension regarding all aspects of the solicitor and client relationship and the legal process in which the client is involved
- the lawyer's accessibility to clients
- sensitivity to the emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs of claimants and an effort to understand and respect claimants' cultural roots, customs and traditions.
The guidelines were developed through the Law Society's Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee/Comité sur l'equité et les affaires autochtones and the Professional Regulation Committee.
Paper copies are available from our Resource Centre at 416 947 3315 or 1 800 668 7380 ext. 3315.