Regulators in many Canadian jurisdictions have entered a national or territorial mobility agreement, adopting regulatory provisions that guarantee reciprocal transfer requirements.

Depending on a lawyer's recent practice experience, he or she may be eligible to transfer to BC from a reciprocating jurisdiction under Rule 2-81 of the Law Society Rules and the National Mobility Agreement or the Territorial Mobility Agreement after fulfilling a prescribed reading requirement. A lawyer who is from a non-reciprocating Canadian jurisdiction may transfer to BC after writing a transfer examination, writing the qualification examinations or re-articling, depending on the lawyer's recent practice experience.

A lawyer transferring to BC from another Canadian jurisdiction as in-house counsel may be exempted from the requirement to write examinations or fulfil a reading requirement.

Transfer from a reciprocating jurisdiction

Lawyers who qualify under Law Society Rule 2-81 and the National Mobility Agreement or the Territorial Mobility Agreement are exempt from the transfer examination requirement, but must otherwise fulfil all the requirements of Law Society Rule 2-79 for call and admission on transfer as well as:

  • certify that you have read and understand the Legal Profession Act, the Law Society Rules and the Code of Professional Conduct for BC;
  • certify that you have read the following sections, including the related statutory provisions, regulations and rules of the current Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) Practice Material:
    • Professional Responsibility; and
    • all other sections that you anticipate will be relevant to your practice of the law of in BC; and
  • meet the requirements of your home law society to be entitled or authorized to practise law.

For example, if you are required to have insurance in your home jurisdiction to be considered entitled to practise and you do not currently have insurance, you are not eligible to transfer under Law Society Rule 2-81. You must first be reinstated to practising insured status in your home jurisdiction.

If you do not possess a Canadian law degree in common law, you must obtain a Certificate of Qualification from the National Committee on Accreditation before applying for transfer to BC.

Transfer from a non-reciprocating jurisdiction

If you are not eligible to transfer to BC under Law Society Rule 2-81, you are still eligible to transfer to BC from another Canadian jurisdiction under Law Society Rule 2-79, which stipulates that you must meet the same conditions of recent practice history that are required of lawyers returning to practice, including:

  • If you were called to the Bar in your home jurisdiction within the last three years, you must pass a transfer examination (Law Society Rule 2-79(3)).
  • If you were called to the Bar in your home jurisdiction more than three years ago and have been out of practice for no more than three years within the last five years, you must pass a transfer examination (Law Society Rule 2-79(3)).
  • If you were called to the Bar in your home jurisdiction more than three years ago and have been out of practice for more than three years within the last five years, you must past a qualification examination (Law Society Rule 2-79(2)).
  • If you were called to the Bar in your home jurisdiction at least seven years ago and have not practised law within the last seven years, you must pass a qualification examination (Law Society Rule 2-79(2)), and the Credentials Committee has the discretion to impose additional conditions, such as re-articling and completion of the Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC).

Enrol in the Law Society Admission Program

You may wish to enrol in the Law Society Admission Program and complete articles and the Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) despite your eligibility to be called and admitted on the basis of transfer. To pursue this option:

  • complete the enrolment process for the Law Society Admission Program;
  • provide a letter to the Law Society confirming that you are aware of your options and have chosen the Law Society Admission Program route; and
  • pay the unsubsidized fee for PLTC.

If you decide to change to a transfer applicant while enrolled in the Law Society Admission Program, you must submit a completed transfer application form and the transfer application fee at least 30 days before your proposed call date.

How to apply for transfer

Processing time

There is no guaranteed turn-around time for transfer applications. The “typical time” assuming the application is complete and the requirements are met (such as entitlement to practice law in reciprocating jurisdiction) processing typically takes one month. The process will take longer if there are issues found in your application such as missing information or errors, or if your application must be investigated further.

Step 1: Submit to the Law Society:

  • a Transfer to BC Application Form;
  • a Certificate of Character (supporting document);
  • a Certificates of Standing showing you are entitled to practice law in your Jurisdiction, and additional Certificates of Standing from all law societies of which you are or have been a member, issued not more than 30 days prior to the date of application; and
  • the application/investigation fee (subject to the GST in BC) paid by cheque or bank draft, and made out to the Law Society of BC.

*We require the original of your application, and originals of the supporting documents. They should be forwarded to the attention of Member Services. 

If applicable, also submit at this time:

  • the Professional Lawyer Training Course (PLTC) Practice Material order form; and
  • the Practice Material fee (indicated in the order form).

Step 2: Once application is approved by the Law Society

  • Fulfil any applicable exam or reading requirement
  • See Statutory Declaration re Transfer Reading Requirement Application (supporting document).
  • Finalize arrangements for call and admission, and pay practice and insurance fees.

Step 3: Call ceremony

Attend a call ceremony within the calendar year that you are called. If you become a member within the last four months of the year (September to December) you will have an extension of this requirement into the following calendar year.