As an in-house or seconded lawyer, you have the option of paying the annual indemnity fee and participating in the Indemnification Program with all the potential benefits (e.g. part-time fee) and obligations (e.g. surcharges for prior or future paid claims) it entails. The Policy provides coverage to you for claims brought against you by third parties. There is no coverage for claims brought against you by or on behalf of your employer or related entity. This option is available to lawyers employed by, or seconded to, one of the following:

  • a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government department or a Crown corporation;
  • a society, association, partnership or corporation, other than a law firm;
  • a trade union; or
  • a regulatory body.

In order to make your decision, you will need to assess your risk of claims.

If you provide legal services solely to your employer and consider the risk of a claim against you by a third party to be acceptably small, you may choose to claim the exemption. If you claim the exemption, additional options that may be available to you include seeking to be added as an additional insured to any professional liability insurance held by your employer, or obtaining a general indemnity from your employer.

The following are some circumstances where you may face a higher risk, and may want to consider applying for the coverage:

  1. You volunteer to provide pro bono legal services through an organization that is not a “sanctioned services” provider administered by Access ProBono.
  2. You are asked by your employer to provide legal services to third parties. A common example is in-house litigation lawyers at an insurance company who are in a tripartite relationship. These lawyers provide a defence to an insured pursuant to a liability insurance policy issued by their employer. The risk may be heightened when the insured client has a contractual right to direct the litigation, the client’s reputation is at stake, the lawyer acts in a subrogation claim, or there is a deductible, retention or other uninsured loss.
  3. You provide legal services solely to your employer, but may face claims by third parties in the course of that employment. You may be involved in: contract negotiations; assisting with mergers; human resource management work, such as downsizing or dismissed employees; review of press releases; or opinion letters related to a company’s financial status. In a subsequent dispute, the third party may advance claims against both your employer and you alleging misrepresentation or a duty owed and breached.
  4. You have authority over money held in trust.
  5. A colleague casually asks you a question about exercising options, a speeding ticket, a divorce, or an apartment eviction. Despite you saying otherwise, they later take your answer as legal advice and make a claim against you. Your employer may not see this exchange as part of your employment duties and refuse to indemnify you.
  6. There may be a party to whom you have not provided any direct or indirect legal services, but they still have a beef with you and make a professional negligence claim.

This list of risk considerations is not exhaustive. You must assess your own risk and make your choice. If you want to discuss whether an activity or practice, person or entity is covered under the compulsory indemnification policy, please contact one of our advance ruling advisors.

For more information on exemptions and application forms, contact Member Services. Please read our Information sheet: Compulsory Professional Liability Indemnification for an overview of our program, and visit The Policy wording for our Policy wording. More information about coverage is available on the following webpages: