Professional Conduct Rules: An Update

Back in 2017, we published a blog post which outlined where to find current and previous versions of the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct and Paralegal Rules of Conduct. Since a few things have changed, we have provided an update below.

Current Rules

The most up-to-date versions of the rules for lawyers and paralegals are available on the Law Society of Ontario’s website.

To stay on top of the most recent amendments to the rules adopted by Convocation, check the Law Society’s Gazette. You can also check the “Convocation Updates” found on the Law Society website. These updates are made available for the previous two years and provide succinct summaries of recent Convocation activity. To see an example, look to this update for April 22, 2021.

Previous Point-in-Time Versions: Print

Both sets of rules have undergone considerable changes over the years and you may need to see a version that was in effect on a specific date in the past. To assist with this research, the library keeps print-format versions of superseded rules. Rules of Professional Conduct are available from 1964 to current; Paralegal Rules of Conduct from 2007 to current. These rules are shelved in the 1st Floor Stacks at KF 306 L386 (for lawyers) and KF 308 L386 (for paralegals). Each version provides a “current to” date.

Previous Digitized Point-in-Time Versions: Digital

In the past, the rules were contained in Professional Conduct Handbooks, published by the Law Society and distributed to lawyers. The first Professional Handbook was published in 1964. The handbooks were not published annually but appeared as the need for an updated handbook arose. All available Professional Conduct Handbooks up until 1998 have been digitized and are available through AccessCLE. Either click here for access, or browse the AccessCLE collection “Professional Conduct Handbooks”:

To locate a particular year or edition, follow these steps:

  • Click on the “Professional Conduct Handbooks” link.
  • Once the list of editions appears, you can choose “Date” in the “Sort by” box to have the versions appear in reverse chronological order.

Other Online Resources: The Wayback Machine

The Internet Archive has created the Wayback Machine, a database that captures and archives navigable screenshots of certain webpages throughout time. Past versions of the Law Society’s website, including the Professional Conduct Rules, can be found by entering “” into the Wayback search box. A timeline provides hyperlinks to archived screenshots of the Law Society website running from 1997 to 2021. Simply click the period in time at which you would like to view the website.

While the language and layout of the website changed over time, the webpage containing the Law Society Rules can usually be found under a tab dedicated to information related to licensees (i.e. “Lawyer Regulation”, “For Lawyers”, “For Paralegals”, etc.). If you need help navigating this tool or summoning the Rules for a certain period of time, the Great Library is here to help.

And lastly, if in need of some guidance on tracing back these Rules, look to the blog post “How to Trace the History of a Law Society Rule of Professional Conduct“.