Can a judge order counsel to continue in the defence of an accused after counsel advises that he will no longer represent the accused?

New Brunswick, Canada


The following excerpt is from R. v. Golding - Withdrawal of Counsel, 2007 NBQB 320 (CanLII):

In Leask v. Cronin, 1985 CarswellBC 266 (S.C.), Justice McKay writes at paragraphs 10 and 14: 10. The issue is whether a trial judge has any right in law to order counsel to continue in the defence of an accused after counsel advises that he has decided that he will no longer represent the accused. In my view, the law is clear that he cannot make such an order. […] 14. It is equally clear that counsel must not be questioned as to his reason or reasons for withdrawing. The solicitor-client relationship precludes his disclosing the reasons. To do so without a proper waiver of privilege by the client could subject counsel to disciplinary proceedings before the benchers. Counsel must not be put in that position.

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