To completely understand the Law Society of Ontario, we will take the step-by-step learning approach. So, let us go into every aspect of the Law Society of Ontario in parts.
What is a Law Society?
A Law Society, in general, is an organization or group of lawyers who regulate or supervise lawyers’ training, qualification and conduct. Without a law society in place, there would be no authority to watch the quality of practicing lawyers and the kind of judicial services to the general public.
Mostly, every country in the world has a Law Society of its own. For example, the law society of the U.K. (the U.K. refers to the United Kingdom). However, few don’t. For now, let us focus on the Law Society of Canada.
Law Society of Canada?
The nation of Canada is divided into various provinces. Hence, there are several law societies in Canada, divided based on territory or province, so that the functioning of the law society can be easier and more efficient. Now, to govern all these provincial law societies, there exists ahead or apex authority, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada or the Law Society of Canada, in short.
The Law Society of Canada is an official national organization of Canada, for coordinating all the members, that is, all the law societies who have the power to regulate Canada’s lawyers, Quebec’s notaries and Ontario’s licensed paralegals in the public interest.
All the lawyers, notary and paralegals in Canada, Quebec and Ontario are required to be official members of one of the law societies, by law. To have the power to govern them by its rules.
Law Society of Ontario:
Ontario is a province in Canada. Thus, it has a law society of its own which was created by an act of the legislative assembly of Canada in 1797.
Earlier known as the ‘Law Society of Upper Canada’ is now continued under the name: ‘Barreau de l’Ontario’ in French. It is referred to as the ‘Law Society of Ontario’ in English. It is also referred to as ‘L.S.O.’ in short.
The law society of Ontario has its headquarters at Osgoode Hall, Toronto.
The Law Society Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.8; by the government of Canada mentions and describes everything pertaining to the “what,” “why,” “how,” “where,” “when,” and “who” about the law society of Ontario, in great detail. The latest version of the ‘Law Society Act of 1990’ was created on October 19ber, 2021.
- The Law Society of Upper Canada was created July 17uly in Ontario to regulate the law profession in Upper Canada, a British colony.
- The Law Society of Upper Canada is the representation or living account of the oldest self-governing body of the legal profession in North America.
- In accordance to the section 5 of the 1797 act of Upper Canada, “no person other than the present practitioners shall be permitted to practice at the bar of any of His Majesty’s courts in this province, unless such person shall have been previously entered of and admitted into the said society as a student of the laws and shall have been duly called and admitted to the practice of the law as a barrister, according to the constitutions and establishment thereof.
1970: Looking at the Law Society Act, 1970, the Law Society during that time required that the potential licensees form and display a good character.
1994: The Law Society adopted a statement of role, holding that it “exists to govern the law profession in the public interest and has the purpose of advancing the cause of justice,” October 27 27, 1994.
2007: The Law Society regulates paralegals, licensees in Ontario from May 1. Paralegals licensed to provide limited legal services, such as providing representation before the provincial Law Society Tribunal, due to Ontario’s law society Act.
2014: The Law Society Tribunal began operations on March 12, 12. The Law Society Tribunal is a board under the Law Society of Ontario responsible for processing, hearing and deciding regulatory cases about Ontario lawyers and paralegals.
2017: The Law Society faces a demand to change the name ‘Upper Canada.’ Therefore, the board members and lay benchers voted to drop the name and replace it with a new name. “Law Society of Ontario” was chosen as the new name on November 2 by the Society.
The Law Society enacted a requirement which licensees acknowledge as an obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. It is also referred to as the ‘statement of principles.
2018: The name change was officially acknowledged by the board on May 8, which followed amendments to the Law Society Act as part of the provincial budget implementation bill.
2020: The Law Society Tribunal was chaired by Malcolm M. Mercer on November 16.
According to the ‘Law Society Act of 1990′, the function of the Barreau de l’Ontario is to make sure that all person who practices law in Ontario or provide legal services like a law firm in Ontario meet the standards of professional competence and professional conduct that are appropriate for the legal services that they provide.
- The law society of Ontario is responsible for governing Ontario lawyers and paralegals of Ontario in the public interest. Thus, it regulates and licenses all Ontario lawyers and paralegals. They ensure that Ontario lawyers and paralegals meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct to serve the people of Ontario in a better way.
The Law Society of Ontario has its lawyers to be ethical and competent in simple terms. The Law Society has the power to set the standards for admission into this profession.
The person who does not mark up to those standards shall not be given access, hence, no licence by the government to practice law in any firm in Ontario. Society has the right to discipline all the lawyers that violate those standards.
- [Further, it clarifies that the standards of learning, professional competence, and professional conduct for the provision of a particular legal service in a specific area of law apply equally to persons who practice law in Ontario and persons who provide legal services in Ontario like a law firm.]
The Law Society of Ontario does the job of regulating 50,000 plus lawyers in Ontario. It also provides legal information and support for lawyers and paralegals.
The following form the duties or principles of the Law Society of Ontario:
- The Law Society has to protect the public interest.
- The Law Society has to maintain the cause of justice.
- The Law Society has to advance the cause of the rule of law.
- The Law Society has to act in a timely, open, and efficient manner
- The Law Society has to facilitate access to justice for the person of Ontario.
- The Law Society of Ontario is a corporation without any share capital.
- The Law Society of Ontario is a self-governing body. Since it doesn’t have a share capital of its own, it is funded through the licensing fees of lawyers and paralegals.
The following form the members of the Law Society of Ontario:
(a) the person who is the treasurer at that time;
(b) the person/s who are benchers at that time;
(c) the person/s who is licensed to practice law in Ontario as barristers and solicitors at that time;
(d) the person/s who are at that time licensed to provide legal services in Ontario, who will be referred to as paralegal members.
Serving the public of Ontario through authorized public services offered by the Law Society, like:
Complaint service– the Law Society of Ontario does the job of receiving and responding to various complaints against the lawyers and paralegals of Ontario.
Online directory service – the Law Society of Ontario provides access to the contact information of the lawyers and paralegals who are permitted to practice law in Ontario.
Law Society Referral Service – provides the name of lawyer or paralegals that will give free consultation for about 30 minutes at maximum. This service can pay many benefits, especially for those who are not financially well-versed but wish to appeal in the Ontario court or seek legal advice. The person of Ontario can be provided with advice on all the rights, resources, and options have.
Law Society of Ontario provides access to the directory of lawyers who are certified specialists in law in specific fields.
Compensation Fund service – the Law Society of Ontario is responsible for paying compensation to those clients who have lost their money due to the lawyer’s or paralegals’ dishonest behavior.
Support service – the Law Society of Ontario supports several programs, namely, the Pro Bono Law Ontario, Ontario Justice Education Network and the Law Commission of Ontario, to promote Ontario’s access to legal services.
- Acquisition and disposition of property
- Trustee power
- Borrowing power
- Capacity to hold an interest in an insurance corporation
The Attorney General of Ontario serves as the ‘guardian of the public interest’ in every matter within the scope of this Act.
Members of the Society elect every lawyer-bencher. Eight society lawyers are also appointed by the provincial government.
Rules of Practice and Procedure
- govern the circumstances in which orders may be made under this act
- authorizing and governing interlocutory orders in a proceeding or intended proceeding, including interlocutory orders suspending a licensee’s license or restricting how a licensee may practice law or provide legal services;
- authorize appeals from interlocutory orders;
- prescribing circumstances in which an interlocutory order suspending a licensee’s license may be deemed to be a final order if the licensee does not appear at the hearing of an application;
- governing the admissibility of evidence in proceedings, including the admissibility in evidence of documents and other information disclosed under this Act or the regulations, by-laws, or rules;
- In the absence of the general public in a hearing that is held or in a part of the hearing, the orders need to be authorized and the orders that specify the information related to a proceeding not be disclosed, are also have to be authorized.
- authorize the hearing division to handle and deal with the consent of the parties, as in application under section 34; with matters that could otherwise be the subject of an application under section 38 and also make an order as referred to in section 40.
- governing the administration of reprimands.
- Anti-money laundering requirements
- Civil society organization
- Contingency fee reform
- Equality, diversity, and inclusion
- Family law action plan
- Firm regulation
- Harassment and discrimination
- Human rights monitoring group
- Lawyer experiential training program enhancements
- Short term pro – bono legal services rules
- Technology task force
The Law Society of Ontario Medal
The law society of Ontario awards the law society medal to deserving lawyers who make an essential contribution to the law profession every year.
- professional yet collegial environment
- individuals and the public are treated with respect and dignity
- equity and diversity are highly encouraged in the work environment
- prohibits any form of discrimination or harassment
- training and programs provided for employees to raise awareness, including Harassment and Discrimination Prevention, Unconscious Bias Awareness training
- hiring, training, compensation, and other employee activities are fair and equitable
- employees and prospective employees are considered based on individual merit
- actively promote equity for all individuals
- Accommodation for candidates and employees with disabilities
The Law Society has partnered with the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice to launch a pilot project which will provide increased access to affordable family law to the people of Ontario.
- Website: www.lso.ca
- Base quarters: Toronto, Canada
- Employee: 501 to 1000 Employees
- Founded in: 1797, Ontario
- Head (treasurer): Teresa Donnelly
- C.E.O.: Diana Miles
- Affiliation: Federation of Law Societies of Canada
- Company: Non-profit Organization
- Business: Legal services/Law
- Revenue pay: $100 to $500 million US Dollars
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