Number of Members: 13 (limited to the governing bodies of the legal profession in Canada)
Membership Is: Voluntary
The Federation is the umbrella organization of the 13 governing bodies of the legal profession in Canada. Each governing body regulates the legal profession within one of the ten provinces or two territories in Canada. The province of Quebec is governed by civil law, as opposed to common law which governs the other provinces and territories. For this reason, lawyers in Quebec are regulated by the Barreau du Quibec while the notaries are regulated by the Chambre des notaires du Quibec, thus explaining the 13th governing body. The objects of the Federation are: to study matters of essential concern to the legal profession in Canada and to further co-operation among the Governing Bodies of the legal profession in Canada with a view to achieving uniformity in such matters; to operate as a forum for the exchange of views and information of common interest to the Governing Bodies of the legal profession in Canada; to improve the understanding of the public respecting the work of the legal profession in Canada; and in appropriate cases, to express the views of the Governing Bodies of the legal profession in Canada in accordance with directions of the members of the proposed corporation given from time to time.
Brief Historical Background
The origin of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada derives from the now defunct Conference of Governing Bodies of the Legal Profession in Canada which had come into existence in 1926 as a result of initiatives taken by Sir John Aikins, then president of the Canadian Bar Association. The main objective of the Conference was then stated to be "the consideration of matters of common interest to the Governing Bodies of the profession in the several provinces and the making of recommendations in respect thereof to the Canadian Bar Association and to the Governing Bodies of the profession in the provinces." The role of the Conference became more important with time and the need to modify its structure was inevitable. It was thus decided to establish a new structure for the Conference. On July 21st, 1972, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada was therefore created to replace the Conference and was incorporated under the provisions of the Canada Business Corporation Act.
Each of the 13 governing bodies of the legal profession in Canada establishes admission requirements to practice law within their jurisdiction.
Annual License to Practice
Each of the 13 governing bodies of the legal profession in Canada requires that their members pay an annual fee and be a member in good standing in order to practice law within their jurisdiction.
Continuing Legal Education Requirements
While each Law Society offers Continuing Legal Education programming, no Law Society yet makes it mandatory to follow such programming.
Code of Ethics
Each lawyer in Canada is governed by a code of ethics and each Law Society is responsible for investigating alleged breach of such code of ethics and instigating disciplinary proceedings for breach of the code.
Practice by Foreign Lawyers
Several Law Societies license foreign legal consultants which allows foreign lawyers to practice the law of their jurisdiction within the jurisdiction of the Law Society. A few Law Societies impose nationality requirements to become a practicing member of their Law Society.
The Federation meets twice a year, during its annual meeting and then its mid-winter meeting. In addition, the Directors of the Federation meet at least four times a year to review and carry out the policies and programs decided upon by the delegates from the various governing bodies.
The Federation has been sponsoring a National Criminal Law Program annually since 1974, and a National Family Law Program on alternating years beginning in 1988. Both programs are very popular and well attended by the Canadian legal community. They are usually held in the month of July, in a major Canadian city. For more information on both programs, communicate with the Federation's office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journal or Newsletter
The National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) is a committee of the Federation and was established through the joint efforts of the Council of Canadian Law Deans and the Federation of Law Societies to evaluate credentials of persons applying from outside Canada for admission to one of the Canadian Law Societies. The committee establishes certain educational and practicing criteria that must be met before an applicant will be considered to be qualified for admission into a Law Society. The existence of the committee avoids the need for each Law Society to establish its own committee to deal with foreign applicants.