Canadian Lawyers Facing Lawsuit over Online Postings on Legal Issues

A year ago when we had the mega-trainwreck threads about not giving legal advice on message boards, some posters were doubtful that there could ever be any legal consequences, asking if anyone has ever been sued over legal advice on message boards.

There is in fact a defamation lawsuit now chugging along in the courts in Ontario, Canada, in which lawyers who posted on one message board are being sued for their comments about legal advice given on another message board.

The background is that there were two different message boards, both dedicated to talking about legal issues: advicescene and

Some posters on are alleged to have posted comments calling into question the accuracy of the free legal advice given on advicescene.

The operators of advicescene then sued the operators of, which settled on the condition that it revealed the IP info for the posters in question. The operators of then ceased operations.

Now the operators of advicescene are suing some of the posters on for defamation, who appear to be lawyers themselves. The suit is still in early stages in the courts, so of course it’s not possible to say who’s in the right here.

The twist here is that the one website openly offers free legal advice, and is suing those who are alleged to have commented disparagingly on that free legal advice.

However, it certainly shows that commenting on legal advice on-line can carry much the same potential legal consequences as commenting in person, or in writing.

Two articles on the issue:

Online Comments Spark Messy Litigation - 01 February 2010

Lawbuzz Suit Ups Ante Names Three More Lawyers - 24 May 2010

Wow, thanks for the links!

We’re looking at this case as it moves through the Canadian courts right now in my legal institiutions class - essentially, it’s a “this is how the law works, with some history and things thrown in” sort of class.

Not in any depth, but more in a discussion on how to behave yourself should you get to become a lawyer.


Haven’t had time to read the links, so forgive me if the answer is obvious, but what does this have to do with giving legal advice on message boards?

I get that the subject of the communications is legal advice, but the main contention in the no-legal-advice threads was what constituted legal advice, what could happen if you advise a client without all facts, etc. All legal issues.

This sounds like you could replace legal/law with dog grooming and the suit would be pretty much the same.

The plaintiffs seem to be complaining that the defendants defamed them by insulting the quality of their work product, not for giving poor legal advice. ISTM that the people who should be afraid are the owners of :slight_smile:

Holy lawyers upon lawyers, this can only end badly.

Here’s how it was once explained to me;

The lowest forms of life are;

  1. Criminals
  2. Cops (cause they deal with nothing but criminals)
  3. Lawyers (cause they deal with nothing but cops and criminals)
  4. Judges (cause they deal with nothing but lawyers, cops and criminals):smiley:

I haven’t read the direct links, but your description makes it clear that the lawsuit is not for the advice, the fact of the advice is just the underlying circumstance leading to the lawsuit against people making disparaging remarks about the quality of hte advice being offered.

So the ones advising have suffered rude remarks about their advice, the remarkers are the ones being sued.

No fun for anyone, that’s for sure, but doesn’t really stand for the idea that sharing legal information, or even outright advice, leads to legal trouble, since it is the advisors who are suing.

Yes, I mentioned that in my OP:

I posted this more to respond to the suggestions I’ve seen in other threads that somehow what’s posted on the internet might not be subject to the same sort of litigation as in other media. That’s not correct - this lawsuit demonstrates that what’s posted on the internet can be subject to the same sort of litigation as in other media. As a lawyer, that tells me to be particularly cautious about posting anything on-line that might be construed as legal advice.