Candice Chan-Glasgow, Director, Review Services and Counsel

 

March 15, 2021

 

A recent CBC news article highlights the Federal Government’s failure to properly redact sensitive information.  This follows some high profile redaction failures south of the border, most notably when Paul Manafort’s lawyers failed to properly redact sensitive and damaging information in documents filed with the Federal Court.

 

Proper redaction tools and workflows should be used to ensure privileged or sensitive information is appropriately redacted.  As a gentle reminder, The Federation of Law Societies of Canada amended its Model Code of Professional Conduct in October 2019 to include commentary on technological competence:

 

[4A] To maintain the required level of competence, a lawyer should develop an understanding of, and ability to use, technology relevant to the nature and area of the lawyer’s practice and responsibilities.  A lawyer should understand the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, recognizing the lawyer’s duty to protect confidential information set out in section 3.3.

 

[4B] The required level of technological competence will depend on whether the use or understanding of technology is necessary to the nature and area of the lawyer’s practice and responsibilities and whether the relevant technology is reasonably available to the lawyer.  In determining whether technology is reasonably available, consideration should be given to factors including:

 

(a) The lawyer’s or law firm’s practice areas;

(b) The geographic locations of the lawyer’s or firm’s practice; and

(c) The requirements of clients.

 

These types of redaction failures are not only embarrassing, but entirely preventable. It’s time to embrace the digital age and learn from these mistakes.

 

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