Authority to Practice Law

Who Has the Authority to Practise Law? There are limits placed on who has the authority to practise law, and what the practice of law entails. It is important that you know what acts constitute the "practice of law" under the Law Society Rules because:

  • only insured lawyers can practise law (Rule 3-39 and 3-43(1)(a));
  • you must not knowingly facilitate anyone other than a practising lawyer to engage in the practice of law (Rule 2-14(1)), except for:
  • the limited exceptions established in the Legal Profession Act, s. 15(1) (e.g., an articled student to the extent permitted by the Benchers, s. 15(1)(c) and articulated in the Legal Profession Act, ss. 19-20, and Rules 2-59 to 2-75);
  • a person who is employed by you and who acts under your supervision (s. 15(2)). A "practising lawyer" is a member in good standing who holds, or is entitled to hold, a practising certificate (Legal Profession Act, s. 1(1)). And the "practice of law," amongst other things, includes:
    • appearing as counsel or advocate;
    • drawing, revising or settling documents that relate in any way to proceedings under a statute of Canada or British Columbia;
    • giving legal advice; and
    • making a representation to a person that you are qualified to do any of these things.