Practising outside of BC or advising on the law of another jurisdiction

Lawyers sometimes practise law outside of BC or give advice on the law of another jurisdiction. Whether you are practising the law of or in another jurisdiction, you will likely enjoy coverage under the professional liability insurance policy (Part A) for any negligence claims that might arise.

The policy usually insures lawyers for their practice of any type of law, anywhere in the world. There are only a few exceptions to this broad coverage, as follows:

  • If you have a permanent practice in another jurisdiction outside of Canada and are a member of that other jurisdiction’s law society or bar, there is no coverage for any claims arising out of or in any way connected to your permanent practice in that other jurisdiction. In determining if your practice in another jurisdiction is permanent, the Insurer will consider factors such as whether you have office space, advertise, or may be contacted in the other jurisdiction, what your letterhead states, and to what practice your client base is connected. You can have concurrent permanent practices in more than one jurisdiction, and a permanent practice does not necessarily require a physical presence. However, your occasional practice in or advice on the law of another jurisdiction of which you are a member will not, without more, constitute a permanent practice in that other jurisdiction.
  • Coverage is not available if the claim arises out of or is in any way connected to your practice that is in contravention of the rules of another law society or bar.
  • If you give advice on the law of another jurisdiction that is beyond your level of competence, you may risk losing coverage under the policy.

The coverage includes lawyers practising law in another Canadian jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of the National Mobility Agreement, See Mobility in Canada.

Lawyers who practice the law of another jurisdiction may attract risks that are unique. Mobility – Managing the Risk outlines those risks and offers concrete practice tips to help you avoid them. Although this Insurance Issues: Risk Management article focuses specifically on mobility within Canada, much of the material is relevant to practising law outside Canada, as well.

Of course, coverage is only available for lawyers who pay the annual insurance fee, and other terms and conditions in the policy may limit or preclude that coverage. You will want to make separate inquiries in respect of any excess insurance your firm might carry.

If you would like the Insurer’s position on coverage in a particular set of circumstances, please send a detailed description of the circumstances, in writing, to one of the advance ruling advisors.