5.33: Confidentiality and use of information
12.9: Starting combined proceeding

Case Summary

This matter dealt with a matrimonial property Action and a divorce Action combined together under one proceeding. The Plaintiff in this matter applied for an Order preventing Counsel, representing all three Defendants, from continuing to act for all three Defendants on the basis that Counsel would be forced to breach either the confidentiality undertaking, outlined in Rule 5.33, or the professional obligation to disclose information received for one client to all other clients, outlined in the Law Society of Alberta’s Code of Professional Conduct.

The Court stated that the obligation in Rule 5.33 is triggered when information for the purpose of carrying on an Action is received. In determining the scope of Rule 5.33, the Court interpreted Rule 12.9 in order to decide whether or not a combined proceeding was considered to be one Action or multiple Actions. Jeffrey J. relied on the heading immediately before Rule 12.9 and the decision in Lord v Bell-Lord, 2007 ABQB 274, to find that Rule 12.9 was similar to its predecessor, old Rule 563, in that it is a procedural rule which permits two Actions to be commenced together, but this does not result in those two Actions becoming one. Therefore, in applying Rule 5.33, the Court held that a combined proceeding was considered to be two separate Actions.


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