Derogatory Comments about Lawyers

Question:

Is it a RECO violation for an Agent to make written derogatory comments against a client’s lawyer? Or is it just you can’t make derogatory comments against a fellow Agent?

Answer:

It’s not a violation under the Code of Ethics which simply deals with unprofessional conduct. It would be unprofessional to make an untrue statement about anyone, not just a fellow registrant. So, that would include a client’s lawyer.

The definition of unprofessional conduct under the Code is:

Unprofessional conduct, etc.

39. A registrant shall not, in the course of trading in real estate, engage in any act or omission that, having regard to all of the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unbecoming a registrant.

“Derogatory” seems to be a very negative assessment of an individual. There is no preclusion in respect to negative remarks generally. They may indeed be quite accurate, or at least firmly held beliefs of the person making the comment.

The opposite is “complimentary” and there certainly is no requirement that compliments need to be paid.

However, generally, people who provide compliments whether they be true or false are usually well-liked and often rewarded with “business”.

It is possible that you are thinking about the CREA Code of Ethics which is somewhat broader:

26. Avoid Controversies

The business of a REALTOR® shall be conducted so as to avoid controversies with other REALTORS®.

26.1 Any REALTOR® who is aware of or involved in a controversy with another REALTOR®, resulting from the alleged misconduct or impropriety of that other REALTOR®, should place such matters before the appropriate Committee for resolution in order that the matter may be resolved in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Board, Association, Society or Council to which the REALTOR® belongs.

26.2 “Controversies,” as used in this Article, does not include aggressive or innovative business practices, which are otherwise ethical and disputes over Compensation or the division of commissions/fees.

26.3 A REALTOR® should not disrupt or obstruct a disciplinary investigation or proceeding relating to the alleged misconduct of another REALTOR®.

26.4 A REALTOR® should not make any unauthorized disclosure or dissemination of allegations, findings or a decision in connection with a disciplinary investigation, hearing or appeal.

26.5 A REALTOR® should not intentionally impede a disciplinary investigation or proceeding by filing multiple complaints based on the same event or transaction.

Under the CREA Code there does in fact appear to be a special status for other REALTORS. Obviously, this would not extend to a client’s lawyer.

The laws dealing with libel and slander deal with misrepresentations and untruthful statements. The truth is a complete defence.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

www.OntarioRealEstateSource.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.