Prior disciplinary proceedings offer insight into the rationale underlying the requirement that lawyers must act towards each other and others with civility and good faith. In Law Society of BC v. Greene, 2003 LSBC 30, 2003 CanLII 52523, for example, a single-bencher disciplinary panel found that the lawyer committed professional misconduct when he wrote three letters that contained inappropriate criticism of members of the judiciary and contained inappropriate comments with respect to another lawyer. These statements included that the judge made a “ridiculous decision” and ignored the evidence, and that the other lawyer was a “liar”. In its decision on disciplinary action, the hearing panel commented at paras. 33 to 35 on the nature of civility in the legal profession, stating: Many of our Canons relate to appropriate conduct in expressing the different aspects of professionalism. While it is clear that we, as a profession, place high value on honesty and integrity, it is also important that we express restraint and appropriateness in our commentary, both in the written and spoken word, as we carry out our profession. Our occupation is one where we often deal in difficult circumstances with difficult people, and emotions often run high. It is not in the best interests of the justice system, our clients, and ourselves to express ourselves in a fashion which promotes acrimony or intensifies the stressfulness or the difficulty of those already stressful and difficult circumstances. Public writings or comments which promote such acrimony or denigrate others in the justice system have a negative effect upon the system as a whole. This is particularly true where it appears that the comments are made for no purposeful reason.
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