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Simon Shields, LLB

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Torts - Negligence - Duty of Care - Solicitor

Meehan v Good (Ont CA, 2017)

In this case the Court of Appeal discusses a solicitor's duty of care in negligence to clients:
[5] To determine whether a lawyer owes a duty of care to a client or non-client requires the court to examine all of the surrounding circumstances that define the relationship between the lawyer and the person to whom the duty of care may be owed. Defining the scope of the lawyer’s retainer is an essential element of this analysis: Broesky v. Lüst, 2011 ONSC 167 (CanLII), 330 D.L.R. (4th) 259, at para. 69; aff’d, 2012 ONCA 701 (CanLII), 356 D.L.R. (4th) 55. However, it is not the end of the analysis where, as here, it is alleged that the lawyer’s duty of care arises out of and extends beyond the retainer. Where such an allegation is made, the court must meticulously examine all of the relevant surrounding circumstances, including but not limited to, the form and nature of the client’s instructions and the sophistication of the client, to determine whether a duty is owed beyond the four corners of the retainer: Connerty v. Coles, 2012 ONSC 2787 (CanLII), at paras. 12 to 15; Moon v. Chetti, 2007 CarswellOnt 2312, at para. 14.
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