Law societies manage the legal profession in Canada. They set out professional standards for lawyers and make sure that lawyers meet these standards.
Lawyers are regulated through their provincial/territorial law society. Every lawyer in Canada belongs to a law society which is overseen by the federation. Canada has 14 provincial and territorial law societies that govern over 100,000 lawyers, 4,000 Quebec notaries and 6,000 Ontario paralegals.
What is the Federation of Law Societies of Canada?
The federation is the national coordinating body of the law societies. Law societies have the duty to regulate lawyers and the profession of law in the public interest. The federation also serves the public interest. It leads the development of national standards of regulation to make sure that Canadians are served by competent lawyers.
What does the federation do?
The federation has many functions which include:
- The promotion of national standards for the legal profession and the coordination of Members’ rules and procedures;
- act as the agent of all or some Members to undertake initiatives when all Members so agree;
- The federation acts as controls and manages members, it also acts as a facilitator for forums such as conferences, committees and other opportunities for dialogue where representatives of the Members may discuss issues of mutual interest and foster collaborative decision-making;
- It calls member’s attention to emerging issues that are important and should be noted by them, including important legislative or regulatory developments or trends;
- The federation speaks on behalf of members: when required by members, in Court proceedings, and before parliamentary committees on matters that touch on core values and regulation of the legal profession;
- Creates and maintains important relationships with like-minded associations and organizations such as: the federal department of justice, the Supreme Court of Canada and the Canadian Bar Association.
- The federation also gives information and increases awareness about the role, responsibilities and activities of the Federation among the public, governments, and members of the legal profession; and
- Participates in international forums in order to learn about international legal trends and developments.
Just like provincial/territorial law societies, the federation also have a governing body made up of an executive committee. The function of the committee is to oversee the strategic direction and workings of the organization.
Each province and territory is represented in the executive committee. The law societies of each province and territory nominate a person for the committee and the members serve for a one year term, which is renewable.
The federation is also the body responsible for the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) which is an online case law research engine for lawyers and people who wish to conduct legal research.
The search engine contains over 1,000,000 legal decisions of not just Canadian courts but also Canadian law tribunals. In addition, it also holds legislation from across the country.
Federation of Law Societies in Canada