July 28, 2011


Lyle Harris

Civility may be defined as each person’s entitlement to be treated with dignity, respect and common sense. It is the glue that holds a democratic society together.

Civility is a hallmark of the Bar in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada. Even during the most contested battles, most lawyers on either side of a case refer to each other as “my friend” or “my learned friend”. I believe this is a reflection of the lines from Shakespeare where Tranio advises the fellow suitors for Bianca to “do as adversaries do in law. Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends”.

Yet, I was saddened when I recently read in the Law Society Benchers’ bulletin that uncivil behaviour is the main reason why lawyers and clients make complaints to the Law Society.

There is a perception among some members of the public that the more aggressive (and sometimes rude) a lawyer is, the more likely he or she is to obtain just results for a client. At Harris & Brun, we believe that nothing could be further from the truth. The best way to persuade an opposing lawyer or the Court is to lay out all of the facts of the case and all of the arguments that may be raised by those facts, with decency, courtesy and respect. In other words, not only is civility the right thing to do, it is the most effective way of communicating on behalf of a client.

Clients who wish to have a consultation with one of the lawyers of Harris & Brun may contact the office directly at 604-683-2466, or by fax at 604-683-4541. If you have looked at our website, you will see that under the name of each lawyer is the heading “paralegals and assistants”. Frequently a call or an e-mail to a paralegal or assistant will direct the client to the lawyer that is most suited to handle a particular issue.

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