Non-practising lawyers retain the same rights as practising members, except the right to practise law or to act as notaries public or commissioners for taking affidavits.

Non-practising members are entitled to:

  • run for election as Benchers;
  • vote in Bencher elections and general meetings of the Law Society; and
  • receive Law Society publications.

You must be in good standing with the Law Society to become a non-practising member.

Former members of the Law Society

If you are a former member of the Law Society, you must first apply for reinstatement in order to become a non-practising member. If your reinstatement application is satisfactory, you will not be required to meet any conditions of reinstatement other than provision of the non-practising undertaking. If at some point you wish to return to active practice, you will be subject to the Law Society's returning to practice rules.

Legal researchers

If you wish to restrict your work to legal research or the preparation of legal documents, you must maintain your practising status. Providing opinions is akin to providing legal advice, which constitutes the practice of law (section 1, Legal Profession Act).

Lawyers who provide research and opinion services to covered members and have no client contact whatsoever are exempt from professional liability indemnity coverage.

Lawyers practising incidental to employment

In general, if you are employed by government, a corporation or other institution and engaging in activities that fall with the definition of the practice of law, you must maintain practising status (section 1, Legal Profession Act).

There may be situations, however, in which an employed lawyer technically engages in the practice of law, but the activity is incidental to employment. In that case, you may be eligible for non-practising status and permitted to provide an alternative form of undertaking. If you would like the Credentials Committee to assess your eligibility for non-practising membership, contact Registration and Licensee Services.

Withdrawal from practice

When you become a non-practising member, you must ensure that provisions have been made to manage or dispose of your practice and you may trigger Law Society Rules with regard to trust reports, disposition of files, trust monies and other documents and valuables. Please read the rules to determine whether you will be required to take any steps prior to becoming a non-practising member.

Returning to practice

If you apply to be released from your non-practising undertaking, you will be subject to the Law Society's returning to practice rules. The conditions of returning to practice vary depending on the length of time you have been engaged in the practice of law and the period of time you have been absent from practice.

How to apply

Download the Non-Practising Membership information sheet

Step 1 Complete either the Application for Non-Practising Membership or the Application for Non-Practising Membership for Reinstating Members

Step 2 Submit the appropriate fees, unless you are a practising member

Fees for members who are currently practising will be deducted from the practising fee you have already paid for the year. If the total of the application and non-practising fees is less than the practising fee you have already paid, you will receive a refund for the balance.

Pro bono work and non-practising lawyers

For more information, contact Registration and Licensee Services