13 Feb 2011
In Canada, lawyers enjoy a great deal of freedom to practice outside their home provinces. Generally, if a lawyer has no pending criminal or disciplinary proceedings, and has no disciplinary record, he can practice in any Canadian province other than Quebec for up to 100 days per year without advising the host province’s law society.
This has given lawyers, particularly those in smaller jurisdictions such as Prince Edward Island, a lot of freedom to expand their practices to neighboring provinces.
The agreement that allows for this kind of temporary (and permanent) practice mobility between the common law provinces seems to be working extremely well. It offers members of our profession great opportunities to learn and experience different approaches to common procedural problems – as well as, occasionally, to common problems in the substantive law. That sort of breadth and depth of knowledge translates to a more flexible profession that is able to offer clients more options when it comes to trying to solve difficult legal issues.
But it also raises some interesting ethical issues, both for the lawyers who find themselves in another jurisdiction, as well as for the judges before whom those lawyers appear.