If the Credentials Committee has concerns about the character or fitness of an applicant, it can order a hearing.
About credentials hearings
- Hearings take place at the Law Society's office in Vancouver
- Similar to court hearings with both the Law Society and the applicant represented by a lawyer
- Hearings are open to the public subject to the hearing panel's jurisdiction (some portions of the hearing may be held in camera to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of privileged or confidential information)
- Hearing panels are chaired by a Law Society governor (Bencher) but also include non-Bencher lawyers and non-lawyer members of the public who act as judges. Sometimes, the case can be heard by a single Bencher.
- Hearing panels may grant the application, grant the application subject to conditions or reject the application
- Hearing panels issue written reasons for their decisions
If you are the subject of a credentials hearing, you must submit a deposit as security for costs. In setting the amount to be deposited, the Credentials Committee may take into account the circumstances of the matter including, but not limited to, your ability to pay and your likelihood of success
Review of credentials hearing panel decisions
Both the applicant and the Credentials Committee have the right to apply for a review of the hearing panel's decision. Such reviews are heard by a review board comprising seven adjudicators: three Law Society governors (Benchers), including the chair, two non-Bencher lawyers and two non-lawyers. The applicant also has the right to appeal to the BC Court of Appeal. The Credentials Committee has a right of appeal only on questions of law.