Is it always professional misconduct for a practitioner to use profanity? In Johnson v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2018 BCCA 40, http://canlii.ca/t/hq732, the Court supported a finding that a lawyer “dropping the F Bomb” in a courthouse corridor directed at a police officer who was a witness in his court case “constituted a marked departure from the conduct the Law Society expects from its members”. The Court accepted that there may have been provocation by the police officer (who later arrested the lawyer when their “chests or stomachs” touched), but deferred to the expertise of the professional regulator. However, it was clear from the Court’s reasons that it accepted the proposition that not every profanity by a practitioner was professional misconduct and that the regulator needed to examine the circumstances of each case.
Many discipline panels conduct their hearings in two parts. The first deals with the merits of the allegations (also known as the “finding” stage). If