A lawyer must care for clients’ property as a careful and prudent owner would when dealing with like property.1
A lawyer must draft or adopt an internal policy in writing for file closure, retention and destruction with regard to:
a. Legal and regulatory requirements;2
b. Clients needs and abilities;
c. The nature of the matter;2
d. Limitation periods.3
A lawyer must store client files and business records in a manner that is accessible and readable.4
A lawyer must store client files in a secure location with regard to:
a. Client confidentiality;
b. Preservation of records;
1 Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Code of Professional Conduct, Halifax: Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, 2012, rule 3.5-2
2 Legal Profession Act and its Regulations, S.N.S. 2004, c. 28; Canada Business Corporations Act, RSC 1985. C. C-44; Canada Pension Plan, RSC 1985, c. C-8; Employment Insurance Act, SC 1996, c. 23; Excise Tax Act, RSC 1985, c. E-15; Income Tax Act, RSC 1985, c. 1 (5th Supp); Nova Scotia Companies Act, RS c. 81, s.1; Sales Tax Act, 1996 c. 31, s.1; Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 c. 26, s.1; Land Registration Act, 2001 c. 6; Probate Act, 2000 c.31; Aggio v. Rosenberg, 1981 Carswell ONT 407; Spencer v. Crowe, 1986 Carswell NS 251; McInerney v MacDonald, 1992 Carswell NB 63; Nova Scotia (Attorney General) v. Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, 2005 Carswell NS 80; Callinan Mines Ltd v Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Co, 2010 Carswell MAN 596; Price v Lambrinos, 2012 Carswell ONT 10559.
3 Limitations of Actions Act, S.N.S. c. 258.
4 Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Code of Professional Conduct, Halifax: Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, 2012, section 3.5; Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 c. 26, s.1
- Record Retention: Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia (2010)
- File Retention: Resources and Practice Aids, Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia (2010)
- File Retention and Destruction, Law Society of Ontario (retrieved December 2019)
- “Closed files: Retention and Disposition”, The Law Society of British Columbia (2007)
- Milbury v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General), 2007 Carswell NS 199.
- “Law firms need document retention policies too”, Canadian Lawyer Magazine (October 2012)
- “The Retention and Destruction of Client Files and Business Records for Lawyers”, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Professional Standards (Law Office Management) Committee (2013)
- Sample Record Retention Policies
- “Surviving a Disaster: A Lawyer’s Guide to Disaster Planning”, ABA Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness (2011)
Approved by Council on May 24, 2013