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Getting Started: Confidentiality & Privilege in the Practice of Law

Finding Materials on Confidentiality

A good place to begin your research into the duty of confidentiality is in a current text. Selected titles are listed below. To find more texts, as well as CLE/CPD articles, search the library’s catalogue.

Suggested keyword searches:

  • Confidentiality  lawyers
  • Confidential communications  lawyers

Using these terms in a <subject> search will help you find further materials on solicitor-client relationships:

  • Attorney and client
  • Practice of law--Canada
  • Legal ethics--Canada


  • Dodek, Adam M., ed., Canadian Legal Practice: A Guide for the 21st Century, loose-leaf. KF 300 C367 2009 / 2nd floor.
    • This comprehensive reference source on the legislation, rules and case law governing the legal profession covers various aspects of confidentiality in lawyer-client relations, particularly in Chapter 3.
  • Graham, Randal N. M., Legal Ethics: Theories, Cases and Professional Regulation, 3rd ed. KF 306 G73 2014 / 2nd floor.
    • Ethical principles and the regulatory framework for confidentiality are covered in Chapter 4, while Chapter 5 looks at the exceptions to confidentiality. 
  • Layton, David, & Michel Proulx, Ethics and Criminal Law, 2nd ed. KF 306 P768 2015 / 2nd floor.
    • This book focuses on ethical issues facing criminal lawyers, including confidentiality (Chapter 4) and confidentiality exceptions (Chapter 5).
  • MacKenzie, Gavin, Lawyers and Ethics: Professional Responsibility and Discipline, loose-leaf. KF 306 M32 1993 / 2nd floor; also online on Thomson Reuters ProView.
    • Chapter 3, "Confidentiality" includes sections on the corporate client, future harm and innocence exemptions, and the lawyer self-interest exception.
  • Woolley, Alice, Understanding Lawyers' Ethics in Canada, 3rd ed. KF 306 W66 2023 / 2nd floor.
    • Chapter 5 provides in-depth analysis of "Lawyer-Client Trust and Confidence".

UK and US

  • Boon, Andrew, The Ethics and Conduct of Lawyers in England and Wales, 3rd ed. KF 306 B66 2014 / 1st floor.
    • This book covers legal ethics and the regulation of the legal profession in England and Wales. Chapter 10, “Confidences” examines lawyers and confidences at common law, exceptions, and solicitors' and barristers' duty of confidentiality.
  • Freedman, Monroe H., & Abbe Smith, Understanding Lawyers’ Ethics, 5th ed. KF 306 F73 2016 / 1st floor.
    • Chapter 5, “Lawyer-Client Trust and Confidence” covers benefits, exceptions and developments in the duty of confidentiality using the American Bar Association Model Code of Professional Responsibility and Model Rules of Professional Conduct as the basis for discussion.
  • Hazard, Jr., Geoffrey C., & W. William Hodes, The Law of Lawyering, loose-leaf. KF 306 H392 2015 / 1st floor.
    • Chapter 10, “Confidentiality, Attorney-Client Privilege, and Work Product Immunity” includes a comprehensive discussion of issues relating to confidentiality, illustrative problems and the American Law Institute's application of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
  • Restatement of the Law - The Law Governing Lawyers. Online via Westlaw in the library.
    • Chapter 5, "Confidential Client Information," provides in-depth consideration of the law on confidential client information, attorney-client privilege and lawyer work product immunity.
  • Wolfram, Charles W., Modern Legal Ethics. KF 306 W64 1986 / 1st floor.
    • This book covers the legal ethics of American lawyers and includes an excellent chapter (Chapter 6) on "lawyers as client confidants," addressing both confidentiality and privilege. Dated, but a classic in the field.