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In Alberta, to be admitted as a student-at-law and to be enrolled as a member, the Legal Profession Act and the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta require that an applicant be of good character and reputation.
The good character requirement is intended to protect the public and maintain high ethical standards in the legal profession by ensuring that those who are admitted as students and enrolled as lawyers conduct themselves with honesty, integrity and candour.
When applying for admission as a student-at-law or enrolment as a member, an applicant must answer application questions and provide documentation that assists the Law Society in determining whether the applicant is of good character and reputation. The questions allow applicants to self-report conduct or circumstances that may raise issues about their character. Applicants are required to provide full and detailed information about any issues they have self-reported.
It is important to note that answering yes to one or more of the good character questions does not necessarily mean that an applicant will be refused admission or enrolment. When an applicant answers yes to one or more of the good character questions, the applicant’s application is subject to a further review by the Executive Director.
A further review may result in the following:
- Approval of application on the basis that the issues disclosed do not require additional review and are not sufficiently serious so as to require investigation of the applicant’s character;
- Additional information or clarification requested;
- Referral to an investigation; and,
- Referral to a good character hearing.
It is important to note that most applications are approved after various stages of additional review. Good character hearings are rare and only a very small number of applications are referred to an investigation and/or a good character hearing.