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Good Character Requirement

The Law Society Act requires that an applicant for admission as a licensee of the Law Society of Ontario be of good character. This is an ongoing requirement for applicants throughout their licensing term.

In the application to be registered into the Lawyer Licensing Process or Paralegal Licensing Process, all applicants must answer questions which assist the Law Society in determining whether the applicant is of good character. These questions allow applicants to self-report conduct or circumstances that may raise issues about the applicant’s character. If an applicant provides an affirmative answer to any of these questions, the applicant must provide full and detailed particulars (which may include supporting documentation).

Applicants must complete and submit all parts of the application, supporting documents and the fee in order to commence the Licensing Process. Only candidates fully applied with Good Character items answered in the affirmative will be reviewed and escalated as required.

An affirmative answer to any of the good character questions does not necessarily mean that a candidate will be refused admission to the Law Society. The information provided by each applicant is thoroughly reviewed by the Law Society’s Professional Regulation department, and before an application for a licence can be refused, the Law Society Act provides the applicant an opportunity to appear before the Hearing Division of the Law Society Tribunal. Where the Hearing Division makes an order refusing an applicant’s application for a licence, the Law Society will remove the applicant from the Lawyer Licensing Process or the Paralegal Licensing Process (as the case may be), and the applicant will cease to be a candidate in that Licensing Process. Information about the Law Society Tribunal, including rules of practice and procedure governing hearings and appeals of decisions, is published on the Law Society Tribunal website.

The Law Society is committed to working toward reconciliation with First Nation, Status, non-Status, Inuit and Métis Peoples. When reviewing licensing applications, the Law Society applies the principles established by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Gladue and Ipeelee decisions and as such considers the unique systemic or background factors that may have played a part in those incidents to which an applicant’s responses refer.

After submitting an application to be registered into the Lawyer Licensing Process or Paralegal Licensing Process, applicants must immediately notify the Licensing and Accreditation Department in writing if their answers to any of the good character questions have changed at any time during their licensing term. A Good Character Amendment Form is available online on the Fees and Forms page.

Applicants are to note that if they do not submit all application process requirements they will not be able to move forward in the Licensing Process and their good character section will not be reviewed, which will delay licensing.

Upon successfully completing the Lawyer Licensing Process or Paralegal Licensing Process and meeting all requirements to become licensed to practice law or to provide legal services in Ontario, applicants are required to sign an undertaking that they have maintained the standing of good character throughout their licensing term and up to the day they became licensed.