What is the Federation of Law Societies of Canada?

Coordinating Body for Canada’s Law Societies

Every lawyer in Canada and notary in Quebec is required by law to be a member of a law society and to be governed by its rules. Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial law societies govern Canada’s 117,000 lawyers, Quebec’s 4,500 notaries and Ontario’s 8,000 paralegals in the public interest. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is their national coordinating body.

Serving the Public Interest

A central feature of Canada’s legal system is the public’s right to obtain legal advice and be represented by a legal profession that is independent of the government. For that reason, our laws provide for the self-regulation of the legal profession. One of the key strengths of Canada’s legal system is the clear distinction between the function of law societies and that of voluntary associations of members of the profession. The function of law societies is to regulate the legal profession in the public interest. The mandate of the Federation is also to serve the public interest. It is the function of voluntary associations of members of the profession, such as the Canadian Bar Association, to speak for and represent the interests of their members.

National Leader for High Standards of Regulation

The Federation leads the development of high national standards of regulation to ensure that all Canadians are served by a competent, honourable and independent legal profession.

Leader in Free Access to Legal Information

The Federation is the developer and owner of the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII), a free and comprehensive online search engine for Canada’s laws and over 1,000,000 decisions of Canada’s Courts and administrative tribunals.

Assessment Body for Internationally-Trained Lawyers

Through its National Committee on Accreditation , the Federation responds to over 1,000 applications per year from individuals whose legal education was obtained abroad and who wish to join one of Canada’s law societies (outside of Quebec).

Provider of National Continuing Legal Education Programs

The Federation sponsors the National Criminal Law Program and the National Family Law Program, both recognized for their excellence by practitioners and judges year after year.

National Voice of Canada’s Law Societies

The Federation speaks out on issues critical to safeguarding the public’s right to an independent legal profession, the protection of solicitor-client privilege and other issues relating to the administration of justice and the Rule of Law.