Know the mobility rules

Lawyers advising out-of-province clients must familiarize themselves with the mobility rules so they can properly advise clients on their ability to represent them in other jurisdictions.

Under the National Mobility Agreement, a lawyer licensed in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland or New Brunswick may practise temporarily in any of those jurisdictions without obtaining a permit from the local law society.

Temporary practice is defined as not more than 100 business days in a calendar year.

To be eligible for temporary practice without a permit, you must:

  • carry professional liability insurance comparable to that of the other jurisdiction;
  • have defalcation coverage that extends to your temporary practice outside BC;
  • not be subject to conditions or restrictions on your practice in any jurisdiction imposed as a result of or in connection with proceedings related to discipline, competency or capacity;
  • not be the subject of criminal or disciplinary proceedings in any jurisdiction;
  • have no disciplinary record in any jurisdiction.

In addition, you lose your right to temporary mobility and must be called to the Bar of the other jurisdiction if you establish an economic nexus — such as opening a trust account — in the other jurisdiction.

Quebec, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are not part of the temporary mobility agreement. BC lawyers who wish to represent clients in those jurisdictions must either be called to the Bar in the jurisdiction or obtain a temporary practice permit from the local law society.

If you are advising a client from any of these jurisdictions and are not called to the Bar in the client’s jurisdiction, it is important to determine any limitations on your ability to provide legal advice or representation and to advise your client accordingly.