The Law Society's returning to practice rules cover a number of situations.

You are subject to these rules if you are:

  • a non-practising or a retired member wanting to return to practice;
  • currently exempt from liability insurance and now applying for insurance;
  • currently insured for part-time practice and now applying for full-time practice insurance; or
  • applying for reinstatement and wanting to return to practice.

How to apply

If you are applying for reinstatement or a change in your insured status, the returning to practice provisions are automatically triggered and there is no need for a further application.

If you are a non-practising or a retired member applying to be released from your non-practising or retired undertaking, you must submit:

  • a completed Returning to Practice application form; and
  • a non-refundable application fee.

Returning to practice requalification rules

If you...

then...

Were called to the Bar within the last three years or have not engaged in the practice of law* for no more than three of the last five years

No specific requalification are required.

Are not engaged in the practice of law* for more than three of the last five years

You must pass a qualification examination.

Are not engaged in the practice of law* for more than seven years

You are automatically referred to the Credentials Committee, which will determine what, if any, conditions should be imposed.

Were called to the BC Bar at least seven years ago and not practised law* within the last seven years 

You must apply to the Credentials Committee and comply with any conditions it imposes, which may include one or more of the following:

  • completion of the Law Society Admission Program;
  • completion of all or part of the Professional Legal Training Course;
  • restrictions on practice as described in Law Society Rule 2-90;
  • practising law in BC immediately following returning to practice;
  • not practising law as a sole practitioner;
  • practising law only in an approved situation for up to two years; or
  • practising only in specified areas of law, or not practising in specified areas.

 

*The “practice of law” is as defined in section 1 of the Legal Profession Act and for an average of at least one day per week.

If you are required to write the examinations, you may apply to the Credentials Committee for permission to practice without writing the examinations. The Committee may permit a lawyer to practice law without writing the qualifications examinations if, in the opinion of the Committee, the lawyer has engaged in activities that have kept the lawyer current with substantive law and practice skills, or if the public interest does not require the lawyer to write the qualification examinations.

Former judges and masters

If you are a reinstated lawyer who was a judge or a master, you must restrict your practice by not appearing before certain courts for a period of time. Alternatively you may have conditions respecting your practice imposed by the Credentials Committee.