In this context, ethical reasons could refer to a client’s
request that a lawyer act illegally or contrary to the Law Society
of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Ethical reasons also extend to circumstances that may not involve any illegality, but which have resulted in a breakdown of the client-solicitor relationship to the point that counsel cannot effectively
give legal advice or receive instructions from the client. The
phrase “loss of confidence” is often used to describe this latter
situation: C. (D.D.), at para. 26; David Layton and Michel
Proulx, Ethics and Criminal Law, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Irwin Law
Inc., 2015), at pp. 561-62; Law Society of Upper Canada Rules of
Professional Conduct: rule 3.7.2 and commentary.
 The requirement that the court accept, without inquiry,
trial counsel’s assertion that ethical reasons or, to put it more
broadly, a breakdown in the client-solicitor relationship, require
that counsel no longer act for the client, does not rest on some
exaggerated notion of the integrity of all counsel. The prohibition is predicated on the very real risk that any inquiry would
reveal communications that are subject to client-solicitor privilege and would put trial counsel in a position where he or she
had to compromise the duty of loyalty owed to the client to fully
explain the breakdown of the relationship. It is hard to think of
circumstances in which any meaningful inquiry into the reason
for the breakdown in the client-solicitor relationship would
not potentially compromise the accused’s position and his future
defence by other counsel.
 In considering and rejecting the application, the trial
judge wrongly focused on the content of the legal assistant’s affidavit. He found the affidavit lacking in details and any explanation of the legal assistant’s expertise in matters of legal ethics.
The trial judge should have instead focused on counsel’s representations. Bearing in mind the reason counsel wanted off the
record, the legal assistant’s affidavit could not add much of substance to the inquiry.
 Trial counsel was candid in indicating that non-payment
of his fees had created considerable strain in the relationship
and made it impossible for him to properly prepare for the second trial. At the same time, however, trial counsel repeatedly
told the court that the problems between he and the appellant
had gone beyond those related to the non-payment of his fees
and had reached the point where the client-solicitor relationship
had broken down. As I understand Cunningham, the trial judge
was obligated to accept trial counsel’s representation.
 I do not agree with the Crown’s submission in this
court that trial counsel’s reference to “ethical reasons” related