Law societies sign on to enhanced mobility regime

Canadian lawyers will soon see their horizons broadened, as law societies in eight provinces finished 2002 by giving formal approval to a new national mobility agreement. The agreement flows from the final report of the Federation's National Mobility Task Force and will result in a more liberal mobility regime for lawyers who wish to transfer to, or to practise temporarily in, another province or territory: for a copy of the Task Force report visit the Federation website at

The BC Benchers authorized the President to sign the new national mobility agreement in November. Lawyers in BC will be kept updated as the necessary rules are developed to bring the agreement into effect. Questions

A historic moment for the profession as President Richard Gibbs, QC joins the leaders of seven other Canadian law societies in giving formal approval to a new national mobility agreement at the Law Society of Upper Canada in Toronto on December 7. The agreement will be brought in force after law societies adopt implementation rules.

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Under the new temporary mobility regime, a lawyer in a common law jurisdiction in Canada will be entitled to practise temporarily in another reciprocating Canadian common law jurisdiction for a cumulative period of up to 100 days in a calendar year. (The current Federation protocol entitles lawyers to practise in another province for up to 10 matters over 20 days in any 12-month period.) The proposals for admission as a member in another province or territory will replace the current transfer examinations with a prescribed reading requirement.

There will be separate provisions for lawyers practising between Quebec (the Barreau du Québec) and the common law jurisdictions in Canada, in recognition of differences in legal systems.

While BC lawyers now enjoy enhanced practice mobility in the western provinces under a protocol of the western law societies, the new national mobility agreement will supersede the western protocol.

All law societies are participating in the national regime, except the Chambre des Notaires du Québec (in light of the unique role that notaries play under Quebec's civil law system), the Law Society of New Brunswick and the territorial law societies. As the law societies of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut have expressed concerns about preserving the strength of their local bars, the Mobility Task Force will consider options for these jurisdictions further.