Institute for Civility & Professionalism

In 2008, the Honourable Coulter A. Osborne, Q.C., called for a renewed emphasis on civility in his Civil Justice Reform Project: Summary of Findings & Recommendations.  The Advocates’ Society responded by launching its Institute for Civility & Professionalism to provide opportunities for training and mentorship to the legal profession in Ontario.

To view or print the Media Release, please click here.
To view or print the Terms of Reference, please click here.
To learn about The Catzman Award for Professionalism & Civility, please click here.


Best Practices – A Practical  Guide to Civility

Born out of the frustration of two young lawyers, the Young Advocates' Standing Committee, in conjunction with the Institute for Civility and Professionalism and The Advocates' Society, hosted a Symposium on Civility in February 2012. Members of the bench, senior bar and junior bar were invited to participate, with the purpose of canvassing the very real problems young counsel may face, and exploring ways in which the bench can assist in changing behaviour.

The result? Real, practical solutions for members of the profession, as well as a guide for Judges and Masters on how to better deal with obstructive conduct, which is too often the product of an adversarial system.


Click here for the Best Practices guide in English.


Click here for the Best Practices guide in French.


Principles of Civility for Advocates / Principles of Professionalism for Advocates: The Booklet and DVD

civilityIn 2000, The Advocates’ Society hosted a symposium to focus attention on the issue of civility within the legal profession, eventually publishing a booklet titled “Principles of Civility for Advocates.”

In 2009, the Society hosted a “Symposium on Professionalism,” distilling the principles developed at that conference into a set of valuable guidelines. The result was a second booklet titled “Principles of Professionalism for Advocates” which was published, together with an updated “Principles of Civility for Advocates,” in English and in French.  

To view or print this booklet in English, please click here.

To view or print this booklet in French, please click here.


Following The Advocates’ Society’s Symposium on Professionalism in January 2009, we created a DVD titled Choosing Civility, which includes three vignettes on how to deal with uncivil behaviour from a colleague. Each vignette is accompanied by discussion points designed to stimulate dialogue and reflection and to encourage constructive responses to incivility.


Some Civility... Please?

Why a more polite political community would be a more productive one.


To read this article by Michael A. Eizenga and Jordan Eizenga, please click here.


Bibliography on Civility

Annotated cases as they pertain to the “Principles of Civility and Professionalism for Advocates":

  • To view or print a list of recent cases pertaining to the “Principles,” sorted by case, please click here.
  • To view or print a list of recent cases pertaining to the “Principles,” sorted by principle, please click here.

To arrange for a civility training session for your firm, please contact Rose Yanco, Director of Education at


Additional articles and sources



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