practicePRO > Practice aids > Independent Legal Advice Checklist

Independent Legal Advice Checklist

(reproduced with permission of Philip Epstein, Q.C.)

This sample checklist is formatted as a precedent for your file.

Download an Acrobat PDF version of the ILA Checklist (28KB file).

Record the following information:

  • Date, start time and finish time
  • Client's name
  • Client's address
  • Telephone
  • Client's spoken languages
  • Written languages
  • Family status
  • Age
  • Referred by
  • Reason for independent legal advice
  • Client's net worth
  • Spouse's net worth
  • Security requested by lending institution
  • The client has limited facility with English, so I obtained an interpreter whose name was:
  • Also present during our meeting was:
  • I reviewed the following documents:

Part A - I explained the following to the client

  The nature and consequences of a mortgage
  The nature and consequences of a guarantee
  The effect of power and sale/judicial sale and foreclosure
  The effect of an action on the covenant and the liability for any insufficiency
  The consequences of his or her spouse's default
  The possible consequences of failure to honour the financial obligations (loss of his or her house, business and all other property)
  The possibility of obtaining security for the financial obligations
  That an indemnity will be worthless if the spouse declares bankruptcy
  The risks to the client if there is a breakdown of the marriage

Part B - The Client

  I reviewed the current state of the client's marriage
  I reviewed the current state of the client's health
  I asked about domestic violence and was told
  The client said that the reason for his or her consent to this transaction or agreement was
  I satisfied myself that the client was not subject to duress or undue influence and that the client was signing relevant documents freely and voluntarily, without pressure from anyone
  I accepted payment from the client only, and not from anyone adverse in interest to the client

Part C - If the independent legal advice relates to a domestic contract

  I obtained complete financial disclosure from both my client and the other side
  I determined that the document was sufficiently well-drafted to accomplish my client's objectives
  I ensured that the terms of the agreement were both certain and enforceable
  I ensured that, if the agreement is to be filed against property or as an order of the court, the statutory requirements for filing have been met
  I explained the final nature of the agreement
  I reviewed the risks and consequences of the agreement
  I discussed the effect of the agreement upon the client if his or her spouse dies first
  I carefully explained all the clauses of the agreement and the client indicated that he or she understood same

Part D - When client signs contrary to advice

  I advised the client against signing the documents, but the client wished to proceed contrary to my advice, so I explained my advice in the presence of a witness, whose name was
  The client signed an acknowledgement, in the presence of this witness, that he or she was signing the documents against my advice

Part E - File management

  I opened a file
  I placed this form, a copy of the document and my notes in the general independent legal advice file
  I took notes of my meeting(s) with the client and retained these
  I docketed the time spent advising the client
  I sent a reporting letter outlining the terms of the agreement or obligation assumed, together with my account
  My advice was verbal only and I sent no reporting letter


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