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‘Mobility’ may be temporary or permanent. A lawyer who is a member of a governing body in one Canadian jurisdiction exercises mobility by:
- providing legal services temporarily in another jurisdiction, or
- becoming a member of the Law Society in Alberta.
The interjurisdictional practice of law in Canada is governed by a system founded upon (i) the legislation and rules/by-laws that govern the legal profession in each jurisdiction and (ii) two interjurisdictional agreements: The National Mobility Act (NMA) and the Interjurisdictional Practice Protocol (IJP). For more information on the history of the agreements and to view the most recent versions of the agreements themselves, read more on the Federation of Law Societies of Canada website.
Please note that if you are a member of the Northwest Territories you may only apply for permanent mobility under the Territorial Mobility Agreement (see below).
Participating NMA Jurisdictions:
Participating IJP Jurisdictions:
This chart provides a general overview of the system currently in place in Alberta.
Member of NMA*
Member of IJP*
|No Permit Required||Up to 100 days a calendar year||10 legal matters for no more than 20 days in 12-months (10-20-12)|
|With Executive Director’s Permission||Over 100 days or pending transfer||Over 10 legal matters for no more than 20 days in 12-months (10-20-12)|
|Permit Required||Where conditions for practising without a permit are not met||Where conditions for practising without a permit are not met|
|Transfer Required||Economic Nexus**||Economic Nexus**|
*If you are not a member of an NMA or IJP jurisdiction, you are always required to have a permit when providing legal counsel outside of your jurisdiction.
**Economic Nexus is defined in the rules. Simply put, it is when you as a lawyer are visiting a new jurisdiction first, but through some circumstances end up needing to permanently practise there, thus needing to fulfil full transfer requirements. View the link for further information.
Territorial Mobility Agreement
The Territorial Mobility Agreement is also in place, established in 2006 by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to address the unique characteristics of the three territorial law societies.
It allows them to participate in national mobility as reciprocating governing bodies with respect to permanent mobility, or transfer of lawyers from one jurisdiction to another, without a requirement that they participate in temporary mobility provisions. Alberta lawyers seeking to practise in any of the three territories would still be required to pay a single appearance fee but would have, under full mobility, the option of joining a territorial law society without having to write the exams.
Unless you are clearly advised otherwise by the relevant governing body, you should work based on the premise that other NMA jurisdictions define the provision of legal services as:
To engage in the practice of law:
(a) physically in that jurisdiction, except with respect to the law of your home jurisdiction, or
(b) with respect to the law of that jurisdiction physically in any jurisdiction, including providing legal services respecting federal jurisdiction in that jurisdiction.
I am a member of the Law Society of Alberta. I want to provide legal services in relation to another jurisdiction (temporarily or permanently). What can I do? What do I need to do?
The provision of legal services in another jurisdiction is governed by those jurisdictions. You should contact the governing body of the jurisdiction in question.
If that Law Society has signed and implemented the NMA and you are currently entitled to practise law in Alberta, the general rule is that you will not be required to write transfer examinations, but you may be required to meet other conditions. You should contact the Law Society in question to determine exactly what is required.
I do not have a Canadian common law degree, and my degree was assessed by the Universities Coordinating Council rather than the National Committee on Accreditation. Will this affect my transfer to another province?
The Rules of the Law Society to which you intend to transfer will govern this. The National Mobility Agreement does not have an impact on the assessment of your degree.
“Provide legal services” means to engage in the practice of law
(a) physically in Alberta, except with respect to the law of a home jurisdiction, or
(b) with respect to the law of Alberta physically in any jurisdiction,
and includes to provide legal services respecting federal jurisdiction in Alberta.
Reference: Rule 47
- This means that, for the purposes of oversight, you could be providing legal services in relation to Alberta whether or not you are physically in Alberta. For example, if you are giving legal advice with respect to the laws of Alberta in person, on the telephone, by email or through correspondence from a province outside of Alberta you are considered to be practising law in Alberta. You must therefore keep track of all of these activities.
- This also means that you are providing legal services in relation to Alberta if you do so with respect to the laws of Canada applicable to Alberta. So, for example, lawyers who perform professional services as a barrister or solicitor with respect to the laws of Canada applicable to Alberta will be subject to the oversight of the Law Society of Alberta.
- Lawyers employed as in-house counsel who provide legal services in relation to Alberta on an occasional basis in the course of their employment will also be considered to be practising law for the purposes of these Rules.
- There are exceptions related to employees of the Judge Advocate General (Rule 72.2(5)) and proceedings before federal courts and tribunals. (See Rule 72.2(6))
See our Permits & Conditions page for more information.