Sharp practice

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Sharp practice or sharp dealing is a pejorative phrase to describe sneaky or cunning behavior that is technically within the rules of the law but borders on being unethical.[1][2]

The term has been used by judges in Canada; in one a Canadian Construction Board gave an example of "sharp practice" for one party to "take advantage of a clear oversight by the opposite party in a proceeding."[3] According to another source, a Canadian court of appeal judgement, judges should not accuse counsel of sharp practice lightly and should generally not make such an accusation based solely on written submissions.[4] Likewise in R v Badger the Supreme Court of Canada forbade the government from engaging in "sharp dealing" with First Nations in implementing treaties.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Professional Conduct Handbook - Chapter 1 - Canons of Legal Ethics | The Law Society of British Columbia". The Law Society of British Columbia. Archived from the original on 2016-05-01. Retrieved 2017-01-28. A lawyer should avoid all sharp practice and should take no paltry advantage when an opponent has made a slip or overlooked some technical matter. A lawyer should accede to reasonable requests which do not prejudice the rights of the client or the interest of justice.
  2. ^ "Sharp Practice Definition". Archived from the original on 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2017-01-28. Sharp Practice Definition: Prohibited conduct by a licensed lawyer in taking, or attempting to take advantage of a slip or overlooked technical matter by the other side to litigation, and to agree to reasonable requests which either prejudice his client or the interests of justice.
  3. ^ Construction Workers Local 53 v. Fahringer Mechanical Contractors Limited (2001),  CanLII  3504 (ON L.R.B.)
  4. ^ Kelly v. Dosch (2005),  CanLII  8669 (ON C.A.)