Is a lawyer acting for and advising a psychiatrist on contract wording incapable of ever acting against any patient or client of the psychiatrist or geologist?

Alberta, Canada


The following excerpt is from Dreco Energy Services Ltd. v. Wenzel Downhole Tools Ltd., 2006 ABCA 39 (CanLII):

It is one thing to presume (as Martin v. MacDonald does) that a client tells his lawyer his own secrets about the matter for which he retains the lawyer. And then to stop the lawyer acting against his or her former client on a related matter. It is quite another thing to presume that a client tells his lawyer other people’s secrets unrelated to the retainer. And then to stop the lawyer acting against those other people. Does a lawyer acting for and advising a psychiatrist or a geologist on contract wording become incapable of ever acting against any patient or client of the psychiatrist or geologist? Surely not. Does a newspaper retaining a lawyer to advise it about what advertisements are defamatory or a breach of copyright, become a deemed recipient of the secrets of advertising rate negotiations and deals, and incapable of acting against all the newspaper’s advertisers? Surely not.

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