Back to Navigation

Rights of Appearance for Law Students

Overview:

Law students enrolled in a degree program at a Canadian law school accredited by the Law Society may appear before Ontario courts and tribunals on certain matters, provided they are employed or working under the direct supervision of a licensed lawyer. A law student appearing before a court or tribunal must identify him/herself as a “law student” or “summer student.”

Please note that individuals who are defined as “non-licensees” under By-law 7.1, including those not enrolled in an accredited Canadian law school, are not permitted to appear before Ontario courts and tribunals.

Ontario courts and tribunals control their own processes. Although the Rights of Appearance sets out certain matters for which the Law Society’s governing legislation and by-laws permit law students to appear, it is always advisable to consult any applicable enabling legislation and rules of practice and/or procedure of the court or tribunal in question, or to contact the court or tribunal in advance, to obtain express permission whenever possible.

Supervision Requirements:

Part I of Law Society of Ontario’s By-Law 7.1 sets out the tasks and functions that a Canadian law student may perform, and the level of supervision that is required when performing those tasks.

It is the supervising lawyer’s responsibility to set the parameters within which the law student operates. In determining what to delegate to law students, supervising lawyers should be guided not only by Part I of By-Law 7.1, but also by s. 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Appearance Requirements:

Law students have the same Rights of Appearance as Lawyer Licensing Process Candidates. Law students and their supervising lawyers must refer to the Rights of Appearance for Lawyer Licensing Process Candidates  for direction on the matters in which law students are permitted to appear.

Supervising lawyers must particularly refer to the general principles set out in Part A of those Rights of Appearance, and are to interpret those Rights of Appearance accordingly based on the more limited training, experience and ability of their law student as compared to a Lawyer Licensing Process Candidate.

Examples:

So long as it is appropriate under the circumstances and the law student is subject to the direct supervision of a lawyer as required by By-Law 7.1, the following is a non-exhaustive list of matters a law student may appear at:

  1. Matters in the Small Claims Court;
  2. Applications for adjournments in the Ontario Court of Justice on criminal law matters;
  3. Prosecutions under the Provincial Offences Act in the Ontario Court of Justice; and
  4. Matters before tribunals in Ontario, subject to any applicable rules, procedures or practice directions of those tribunals.