Organizations that oversee lawyers and judges say those who sit on the bench may soon be getting extra guidance on what they should — and should not — be doing after retirement.
The Canadian Judicial Council and the Federation of Law Societies have been working together on updating the ethical principles for judges, including a look at their careers after retirement.
Individual courts and provincial law societies already have rules for retired judges who return to legal careers, but the ethical principles to be updated next year could go even further.
The federal ethics watchdog’s report on the SNC-Lavalin scandal revealed how the opinions of retired Supreme Court judges, including former chief justice Beverley McLachlin, were sought after by players on all sides.
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Lawyer Michael Spratt says it could be tricky to come up with rules that still allow retired judges some leeway in sharing their expertise in their next careers.
He says the onus should be on governments to avoid using retired judges in a political way.