Procedure for Withdrawing Services

Notice

If you withdraw services, you must immediately notify the client in writing that you have withdrawn and the reasons, if any, for withdrawal.

If the matter involves litigation, your written notice of withdrawal must advise the client to expect the hearing or trial to proceed on the scheduled date and to retain new counsel promptly.

Be certain to give written notice to the court registry and the other parties (including the Crown) of your withdrawal (BC Code, Chapter 3, rules 3.7-9, 3.7-4 and 3.7-6).

Remember that you still have an obligation to preserve client confidentiality and, absent client consent, you may not disclose the reasons for your withdrawal in circumstances where the reason for withdrawal arose from confidential client communications (BC Code,Chapter 3, rule 3.7-9.1).

You may also have to comply with other statutory requirements for withdrawal, such as notice provisions set out by the Rules of Court or administrative tribunals. For example, under the Rules of Court, the other parties are entitled to proceed on the basis that there has been no change of representation or address for delivery until copies of the notice of change of solicitor in the proper form have been filed and delivered to the other parties of record in a proceeding (Supreme Court Rule 22-6(1)). However, Rule 22-6 contains a number of requirements which must be satisfied before the lawyer is relieved of the responsibilities that attach to the “solicitor acting for the party”.

In addition to written notice of your withdrawal, you must account to the client for any money received for fees or disbursements, as well as any valuable property held on the client's behalf (BC Code, Chapter 3, rule 3.7-9). You must also take all reasonable steps to assist in the transfer of the client's file (BC Code, Chapter 3, rules 3.7-8 and 3.7-9).