Lawyers may be suspended from the practice of law for a variety of reasons. When a lawyer is suspended, the lawyer may not engage in the practice of law and is not authorized to commission or notarize documents.
If a lawyer fails to pay either membership fees or professional liability insurance levies, the Law Society will implement an administrative suspension. Lawyers may also face an administrative suspension if they fail to declare that they have a continuing professional development plan by the annual deadline. The suspended lawyers may be reinstated when they comply.
Lawyers may also be suspended as the result of a discipline hearing, in which case the Hearing Committee will identify the term of the suspension. A lawyer may also be suspended as the result of failing to pay a fine or costs, as directed by a Hearing Committee.
The Benchers may order that a lawyer be suspended if the lawyer is convicted of an indictable offence, if the lawyer has been suspended or disbarred by another law society, or if the lawyer has resigned from being a member of another law society in the face of discipline. Disbarment is another possible outcome.
The Law Society is required to issue a notice to the courts, to the profession and to other law societies, when any lawyer has been suspended.
When lawyers are disbarred, their membership in the Law Society of Alberta is terminated and they may no longer engage in the practice of law or appear as court agents. They are also not authorized to commission or notarize documents.
Disbarments may occur as the result of an order made by a Hearing Committee, after a conduct hearing. A lawyer facing discipline proceedings may apply to a panel of Benchers to resign, pursuant to section 61 of the Legal Profession Act, although a resignation in these circumstances amounts to a deemed disbarment.
The Benchers may order that a lawyer be disbarred if convicted of an indictable offence, if suspended or disbarred by another law society, or if the lawyer has resigned from being a member of another law society in the face of discipline. Suspension is another possible outcome. Disbarred lawyers may apply to be reinstated as members of the Law Society after one year following the disbarment, although reinstatement applications are subject to rigourous scrutiny .
The Law Society is required to issue a notice to the courts, to the profession and to other law societies, when any lawyer has been disbarred.
Lawyers may apply to resign as members of the Law Society of Alberta pursuant to section 32 of the Legal Profession Act. After a lawyer resigns, the lawyer is no longer entitled to practise law and may not commission or notarize documents.
The required application form (Form 2-21) may be obtained from the membership department and must be submitted for approval by the Benchers of the Law Society.
When the lawyer applying to resign has no conduct matters that are the subject of current discipline proceedings, the process is simple. The applications are considered and approved by the Benchers as part of the in camera agenda at regularly scheduled Bencher meetings.
When the lawyer applying to resign is the subject of current complaints and discipline proceedings, the lawyer must contact the Law Society’s counsel department and arrange to have the resignation application heard in front of a panel of three Benchers.
Resignation applications under section 61 of the Legal Profession Act are deemed disbarments.
Custodians appointed for disciplinary reasons are generally identified in the Notice of Suspension or Disbarment.
Notice of Custodianships appointed for any reason, including death or illness, may be issued upon the direction of the custodian.
The Law Society of Alberta supervises the appointment, administration and discharge of a formal custodianship. The Law Society also oversees informal custodial arrangements when requested by a lawyer.
If you know the name of the custodian, please use the Lawyer Directory to retrieve that lawyer’s business contact information. If you do not know the name of the custodian or did not get the information you wanted from Lawyer Directory, please submit this form.