What you need to know if you plan to practise in BC
Character and Fitness
For the protection of the public and the profession, the Legal Profession Act imposes a statutory obligation on the Law Society governors (Benchers) to be satisfied that each applicant for enrolment is of good character and fit to become a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court. The onus is placed on the applicant to satisfy the Benchers in this regard.
Law Society staff screen all prospective articled students, applicants for call and admission, applicants for reinstatement and applicants for transfer to ensure they are of good character and repute and fit to become a barrister and a solicitor of the Supreme Court as required by section 19 of the Legal Profession Act . This could include investigation of any criminal charges, financial difficulties, drug or alcohol abuse, treatment for serious illnesses or any other factors that may affect an applicant's character or fitness for practice.
If Law Society staff have concerns about the character or fitness of a candidate for enrolment, call and admission, transfer or reinstatement, the application is referred to the Credentials Committee. The Credentials Committee can review the matter in question and any relevant factors. For example, in the case of questionable prior conduct, it may consider such factors as the applicant's age at the time of the conduct, the recency of the conduct, its seriousness and any evidence of rehabilitation.
Once the review is completed, the Committee can:
- approve the application;
- approve the application with conditions;
- defer consideration pending further information or the completion of an investigation; or
- order a credentials hearing
A former lawyer who was disbarred or who resigned for disciplinary reasons must be referred to the Credentials Committee and the Committee must order a credentials hearing.
When you apply for enrolment in the Law Society Admission Program or admission and call to the bar, you are advised to answer all questions fairly and fully and to disclose to the Society anything that you consider might adversely affect your application so that it can be considered at an early date. You should give the fullest details possible and supporting documentation.
When considering past criminal charges or convictions, the Credentials Committee assesses these factors:
- applicant's age at the time of the conduct in question;
- recentness of the conduct;
- reliability of the information;
- seriousness of the conduct;
- factors underlying the conduct;
- cumulative effect of the conduct or information;
- evidence of rehabilitation;
- applicant's positive social contributions since the conduct;
- applicant's candour in the admissions process; and
- materiality of any omissions or representations.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding disclosures under this section, please contact the Credentials Officer at the Law Society.
This information is provided to you to communicate, at an early stage in the legal education process, the Law Society of British Columbia’s requirements for the successful completion of the Law Society Admission Program and entry into the practice of law in British Columbia.
Law school is the first step for prospective lawyers in British Columbia. The second step is successful completion of the Law Society Admission Program, comprising of the 10-weeks Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC), including the examinations and skills assessments, and nine months of articles.
To successfully complete the Law Society Admission Program, you will need to acquire knowledge of the law in the eight core practice areas upon which you will be examined, and which are the foundation for the practice, procedure and skills instruction and assessment in PLTC. See PLTC Course Details for more information.
Teaching during PLTC focuses on lawyering skills, professional responsibility, law office management, and practice and procedure in the eight core practice areas. There is little basic instruction in the law during the 10 weeks of PLTC. It is therefore your responsibility to learn the law in these areas either during law school or through self-study.
The PLTC Practice Material is a valuable resource for students in the Admission Program. It contains summaries of practice and procedure in the eight core practice areas, and forms the knowledge basis for the examinations. You should decide whether to take courses in these subject areas during your law school studies or expect to educate yourselves after law school graduation in these subject areas. For further information about the PLTC Practice Material, please contact Alexis Kazanowski, Professional Legal Training Course.