Law societies consider signing enhanced mobility agreement

When law society representatives from across Canada came together at the annual meeting of the Federation of Law Societies in August, they took new steps towards enhanced mobility for Canadian lawyers. Delegates approved the final report of the Federation's National Mobility Task Force, which proposes a more liberal mobility regime for lawyers practising temporarily in another province or territory and those who wish to be admitted as members in another province or territory: for a copy of the Task Force report, see

At the recommendation of the Credentials Committee, the Benchers will consider approving the new national mobility agreement at their meeting on November 8, 2002. It is anticipated that most Canadian law societies will be ready to formally sign the agreement as early as year-end. Questions or comments can be relayed to Alan Treleaven, Director, Education and Practice, at

Under the proposed new temporary mobility regime, a lawyer in a common law jurisdiction in Canada would be entitled to practise temporarily in another 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). Under proposals for admission on transfer from another province or territory, transfer examinations would be replaced with a prescribed reading requirement.

There are 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.

Federation delegates agreed to distribute a new National Mobility Agreement to all Canadian law societies for each to determine whether they wish to participate in the regime. 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 would supersede the western protocol in any province in which it is adopted.

Participation in the new national regime is now being considered by all Canadian law societies, except the Chambre des Notaires du Québec (in light of the unique role that notaries play under Quebec's civil law system). 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.