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Rights of Appearance

Except in the circumstances set out on this page or the Rights of Appearance for Law Students page, or as otherwise specifically permitted by law, law students, lawyer licensing process candidates, and any other law school graduates who are not licensed to practise law are not permitted to appear before Ontario courts or tribunals.

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

Table of contents

Student or Candidate Status

I.       Articling Students, Law Practice Program and Programme de pratique du droit Students, and Candidates Working Under an Approved Supervision Agreement
II.      Integrated Practice Curriculum Students
III.     Law Students Enrolled in an Accredited Canadian Law School
IV.     Lawyer Licensing Process Candidates Who Are Not Serving Under Articles of Clerkship and are Not in a Work Placement at the LPP or PPD

Details of Rights of Appearance

V.     General Guidelines for All Appearances
VI.    Civil Law Matters (Except Family Law Matters)
VII.   Criminal Law Matters
VIII.  Family Law Matters (Including Family Law Pilot Project)
IX.    Administrative Law Matters Before Tribunals
X.     Federal Court Matters


Student or Candidate Status

I. Articling Students, Law Practice Program and Programme de pratique du droit Students, and Candidates Working Under an Approved Supervision Agreement

A candidate who is registered in the Law Society of Ontario’s Lawyer Licensing Process may appear before Ontario courts and tribunals on certain matters if the candidate is employed or works under the direct supervision of a licensed lawyer in one of the following three circumstances:

(a) the candidate is serving under an approved Articles of Clerkship;
(b) the candidate is enrolled in the Law Practice Program (LPP) or Programme de pratique du droit (PPD) and is currently engaged in the candidate’s work placement term; or
(c) the candidate is serving under an approved Supervision Agreement.


Candidates in these three categories have the same rights of appearance. Candidates in these categories appearing before a court or tribunal must identify their status accurately. For example, they may identify themselves as

  • a “student-at-law” or “Law Society of Ontario licensing process candidate” if in category (a), (b), or (c);
  • an “LPP student,” “PPD student,” “Law Practice Program student,” or “Programme de pratique du droit student” if in category (b); or
  • an “articling student” if in category (a).

II. Integrated Practice Curriculum Students

Students who are enrolled in an Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC) program and are currently engaged in their work placement term have the same rights of appearance as those granted to lawyer licensing process candidates in the three categories above.

Students who are enrolled in an IPC program but who are not at the time engaged in their work placement term have the same rights of appearance as other law students who are currently enrolled in an accredited Canadian law school.

IPC students appearing before a court or tribunal must identify their status accurately. For example, they may generally identify themselves as a “law student,” but when they are appearing while engaged in their work placement term, they may identify themselves as an “IPC student” or an “Integrated Practice Curriculum student.”

For information on the rights of appearance when not engaged in a work placement term, refer to the Rights of Appearance for Law Students page.

III. Law Students Enrolled in an Accredited Canadian Law School

A law student who is enrolled in an accredited Canadian law school may appear before Ontario courts and tribunals on certain matters if the law student is employed or works under the direct supervision of a licensed lawyer.

Law students appearing before a court or tribunal must identify their status accurately. For example, they may identify themselves as a “law student” or “summer student.”

For more information, refer to the Rights of Appearance for Law Students page.

IV. Lawyer Licensing Process Candidates Who Are Not Serving Under Articles of Clerkship and are Not in a Work Placement at the LPP or PPD

Candidates who have completed the experiential training program (either by completing articles, the Law Practice Program, the Programme de pratique du droit, or the IPC) or have been approved for an exemption from the experiential training program requirement (but are not yet lawyer licensees) are prohibited from providing legal services that may only be provided by a lawyer and from holding themselves out as a lawyer until they become licensed to practise law in Ontario.

Candidates who have completed their experiential training program and wish to provide legal services under the direct supervision of a licensed lawyer (including appearing before Ontario courts and tribunals) pending licensure may do so following the Law Society’s approval of a Supervision Agreement.

Candidates must follow the instructions and timelines on the form of Supervision Agreement in order to seek approval.

Candidates must not provide legal services until their Supervision Agreement has been approved by the Law Society. Candidates are only permitted to provide legal services under an approved Supervision Agreement during the term specified on the approved Supervision Agreement. Once the Supervision Agreement has been approved, it will appear in the “My Submitted Documents” section of the candidate’s online Law Society account.

Supervision Agreements will generally be approved for a period of up to four months. Candidates who wish to provide legal services after the term approved in their Supervision Agreement must file a new Supervision Agreement and seek approval for a proposed new term. Candidates who have completed their experiential training program must not provide legal services during any period when there is no Supervision Agreement in place.

A supervising lawyer may directly supervise no more than two lawyer licensing process candidates at any one time (regardless of whether the candidates are serving under Articles of Clerkship or a Supervision Agreement). Supervising lawyers must ensure that all clients on whose behalf a candidate provides legal services are the clients of the supervising lawyer and must accept full responsibility for all legal services provided by candidates. Prior to accepting a retainer in which a candidate serving under a Supervision Agreement will be providing legal services to a client, a supervising lawyer must advise the client of the arrangement between the candidate and the supervising lawyer and the reason for the arrangement. 

Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, a candidate awaiting licensure as a lawyer in Ontario must not

  • give legal opinions;
  • sign letters or documents that properly require a lawyer’s signature (e.g., letters that contain a legal opinion and/or legal advice);
  • make appearances in court that may be made only by a lawyer;
  • allow the candidate to be referred to as a lawyer; or
  • fail to clearly correct anyone who appears to the candidate to be of the mistaken belief that the candidate is a lawyer. 
 

The above restrictions prohibit candidates from having their names submitted for publication in telephone directories, law lists, etc. until they have been called to the bar. Similarly, a candidate’s name may not appear on any sign, letterhead, business card, etc. that holds the candidate out as qualified to practise law in Ontario until the candidate has been licensed to practise law in Ontario. Candidates must take all reasonable steps to correct any posting (such as a client testimonial) of which they become aware that refers to them as a lawyer.


Details of Rights of Appearance 

Articling students, students engaged in the LPP/PPD work placement term, IPC students engaged in their work placement term, and candidates working under an approved Supervision Agreement may appear before Ontario courts and tribunals on certain matters, which are set out in non-exhaustive lists below.

V. General Guidelines for All Appearances

  1. Articling principals and supervising lawyers must ensure, in each case where candidates or students are instructed to appear before courts or tribunals, that
    1. the attendance of the articling principal or supervising lawyer is not necessary to secure the client’s rights or assist the court (or for any other reason);
    2. the candidate or student is adequately supervised;
    3. the matter is appropriate for the candidate’s or student’s training, experience, and ability; and
    4. the candidate or student is properly prepared.
  2. Students, candidates, supervising lawyers, and articling principals must comply with the relevant provisions of the Law Society’s By-law 4 and By-law 7.1.
  3. Candidates, supervising lawyers, and articling principals must comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.
  4. Ontario courts and tribunals control their own processes regarding who may appear before them. Although the Law Society’s Rights of Appearance sets out certain matters for which the Law Society’s governing legislation and by-laws permit candidates and students to appear, the Law Society strongly recommends that students, candidates, articling principals, and supervising lawyers consult any applicable enabling legislation and rules of practice or procedure of the court or tribunal in question, or contact the court or tribunal in advance, to obtain express permission whenever possible.
  5. Licensees supervising students who are not candidates or IPC students engaged in their work placement term but are enrolled in a degree program at a Canadian law school accredited by the Law Society must also review the Rights of Appearance for Law Students for additional information regarding the tasks that may be delegated to law students.

VI. Civil Law Matters (Except Family Law Matters)

  1. Candidates are permitted to appear on the following civil law matters (except for family law matters, which are outlined in section VIII. below).
    1. Consent motions and other matters on consent, including references and assessments of costs (with the exception of those set out in section VI.2. below). 
    2. Matters brought without notice to the opposing party before the Ontario Court of Justice and before the Associate Judges and Registrars of the Superior Court of Justice, provided no substantial rights of the parties will be affected.
    3. Simple contested interlocutory motions before the Ontario Court of Justice and before the Associate Judges and Registrars of the Superior Court of Justice, unless the result of such interlocutory motion could be to finally dispose of a party’s substantive rights by determining the subject matter in dispute.
    4. Motions to dismiss an action, on behalf of a responding party only, if such relief is merely alternative to the primary relief sought on the motion, and if there is no reasonable prospect that dismissal of the action will be ordered. 
    5. Subject to the discretion of a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, on the passing of accounts in estate matters.
    6. Examinations for discovery, examinations in aid of execution, examinations of witnesses on pending motions and cross-examinations on affidavits in support of interlocutory motions.
    7. Assignment court matters.
    8. Matters before the Small Claims Court, including pre-trial conferences. 
    9. Consent motions and other matters before a Registrar at the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
    10. Status hearings in the Superior Court of Justice.
Explanatory Notes – Civil Law Matters
  1. With respect to section VI.1.iii., candidates should only appear on matters that are truly interlocutory in nature. The question of whether a matter is interlocutory or final in nature is a matter of law.
  2. Candidates are not permitted appear on any of the following matters.
    1. Motions for certificates of pending litigation.
    2. Interlocutory injunctions brought without notice to the opposing party.
    3. Contested motions to strike pleadings on the ground of no reasonable cause of action or defence (except as set out in section VI.1.iv.).
    4. Contested motions for summary judgment, default judgment, or dismissal on any ground (except as set out in section VI.1.iv.).
    5. Pre-trial conferences (except as set out in section VI.1.viii.).
    6. Motions before a judge at the Superior Court of Justice.
    7. Proceedings in the Divisional Court. 

VII. Criminal Law Matters

Candidates are permitted to appear on the following criminal law matters. 
  1. Ontario Court of Justice
    1. Summary conviction matters that were punishable by a maximum of 6 months’ imprisonment immediately before September 19, 2019, and for which the accused was able to appear by agent pursuant to s. 802.1 of the Criminal Code (a list of offences may be found here).
    2. Summary conviction matters in respect of an offence under ss. 320.13(1), 320.16(1), 320.17, or 320.18(1) of the Criminal Code.
    3. Remands and consent adjournments on indictable matters.
  2. Superior Court of Justice
    1. Remands and consent adjournments as permitted by the presiding judge.
  3. Youth Criminal Justice Court 
    1. Summary conviction matters, subject to the qualifications in VII.1. above. 
  4. Provincial Offences (Quasi-Criminal)
    1. Matters under the Provincial Offences Act, but not appeals, unless the appeal is before a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice. 

Explanatory Notes – Criminal Law Matters
  1. Section VII. reflects amendments to By-Law 4 that preserve the Rights of Appearance for candidates and students that existed prior to September 19, 2019, the date of the coming into force of certain provisions of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. Bill C-75 amended the default maximum penalties for summary conviction offences. 
  2. Sections VII.1. to 4. should not be interpreted to confer upon a candidate the unrestricted right to appear on a summary conviction trial in all instances. The articling principal or supervising lawyer is responsible for providing effective supervision to the candidate having regard to all the circumstances of the situation, including the complexity of the matter and the possible consequences to the accused.
  3. Where an enactment creates an offence, the offence shall be deemed to be an indictable offence if the enactment provides that the offender may be prosecuted for the offence by indictment.
  4. The Criminal Code sets out a number of offences where the Crown may elect to proceed either by way of summary conviction or by way of indictment. In terms of classification, the offence is an indictable offence until the Crown elects to proceed by way of summary conviction (Interpretation Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 1-21, s. 34(1)).
  5. Since it is rare that a Crown will make an election to proceed by summary conviction in bail court, candidates are not permitted to represent persons in bail hearings or assist persons with respect to releases on bail.

VIII.   Family Law Matters (Including Family Law Pilot Project)

Family law proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice are governed by the Family Law Rules (FLRs). Rule 4 of the FLRs currently provides that a party may be represented by a person who is not a lawyer, but only if the court gives permission in advance.

The Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice have issued Notices to the Profession that support the family law pilot project initiative. The pilot project is in effect beginning January 17, 2022, until further notice from the Law Society or the courts. In addition, the applicability of the pilot project in a specific case is subject to the order of a judge or associate judge.

Family Law Pilot Project Details

During the term of the family law pilot project, lawyer licensing process candidates who meet the requirements of I. above (articling students, LPP/PPD students engaged in their work placement, and candidates working under an approved supervision agreement) as well as students who are enrolled in an IPC program and are currently engaged in their work placement term (Permitted Candidates) are permitted to appear on certain family law matters without advance permission of the court in respect of the items set out under the heading “Advance Permission Not Required But Stand-By Availability Required.”

During the term of the family law pilot project, Permitted Candidates are only permitted to appear in respect of the items set out under the heading “Advance Permission and Accompaniment Required” if they have received advance permission from the court and are accompanied by a supervising lawyer.

Participating articling principals, supervising lawyers, IPC students, and Lawyer Licensing Process candidates are all responsible for meeting the provisions applicable to the family law pilot project.

Advance Permission Not Required But Stand-By Availability Required
  1. First appearances.
  2. Rule 14B motions for consent orders or other procedural, uncomplicated, or unopposed matters, including requests regarding service and extension of timelines.
  3. Attendances to speak to matters on consent, including consents to incorporate settlements reached through negotiation, mediation, and minutes of settlement.
  4. Case conferences (including conferences before Dispute Resolution Officers) and “to be spoken to” lists.
  5. Contested adjournments.
  6. Motions relating to financial disclosure.
  7. Motions to appoint the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, except for appointments under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA).
  8. Motions relating to questioning and undertakings.
  9. Preparing submissions and attendances to address costs.
  10. Assignment court/audit court, to confirm a trial is ready to proceed.
  11. Any step in a Motion to Change related solely to child support with a T4 employee support payor (except for discretionary claims pursuant to sections 3(2), 4, 7, 8, 9, or 10 of the Child Support Guidelines).
  12. Form 15D Consent Motions to Change Child Support.
  13. Appearances to settle disputed orders.
  14. Attending on refraining motions either for the Family Responsibility Office, Ontario Works, or the support payor.
  15. Support enforcement proceedings including steps relating to final disposition.
Advance Permission and Accompaniment Required
  1. Any matter involving the CYFSA, Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, or other concerns related to child abduction or wrongful retention.
  2. Anything that finally disposes of a matter, including motions for summary judgment, except as otherwise provided above.
  3. A settlement conference, trial scheduling conference, or trial management conference.
  4. Focused hearings or trials.
  5. Any case that includes an allegation of family violence.
  6. Any case where a party on either side is under a disability.

Explanatory Notes – Family Law Matters
  1. The presiding judge retains discretion to permit or refuse a candidate’s or IPC student’s attendance. If the presiding judge decides that the candidate or IPC student should not proceed with the matter without the involvement of the supervising lawyer, the candidate or IPC student shall ask that the matter be stood down briefly to enable the supervising lawyer to address the matter. Where requested, the candidate or IPC student shall notify the judge if the supervising lawyer is not immediately available to attend in person and, if so, of the approximate amount of time it will take for the supervising lawyer to be available in person.
  2. Articling principals and supervising lawyers must ensure all of the following.
    1. The candidate or IPC student is adequately supervised, with ongoing extensive training and monitoring with respect to their court representation and activities, including in respect of both substantive and procedural family law.
    2. The matter is appropriate for the candidate or IPC student’s training, experience, and ability.
    3. The candidate or IPC student is properly prepared and familiar with the client’s file.
    4. The candidate or IPC student has authority from the client to speak to the issues within the file that are to be addressed in the court appearance, including the resolution of those issues on consent. If issues arise outside of those that were expected to be addressed by the court, the supervising lawyer must be available to speak to the matter (on stand-by where accompaniment is not required).
  3. The articling principal, the supervising lawyer, or a lawyer within the firm where the placement is located must be the counsel of record for the matter before the court.
  4. Where a supervising lawyer is not required to accompany the candidate or IPC student under the above provisions, a lawyer with direct responsibility for the file must be available on stand-by to speak to the judge if required. Stand-by means that the lawyer is available to appear in court at the time that has been scheduled for the event, either virtually, by telephone, or in person, if required by the court.
  5. Candidates and IPC students appearing before the court must indicate to the court that they are appearing under the family law pilot project and are within the rights of appearance. Where the supervising lawyer or articling principal is not in attendance, the candidate or IPC student must confirm to the judge at the start of the proceeding that the supervising lawyer is available on stand-by.
  6. When appearing pursuant to the family law pilot project, IPC students are deemed to be subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct in the same way as a lawyer licensing process candidate is subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct.
  7. Candidates, IPC students, articling principals, and supervising lawyers are reminded that they must comply with By-law 4 and By-law 7.1, as applicable.

IX.     Administrative Law Matters Before Tribunals

Candidates are permitted to appear before federal and provincial boards, agencies, and administrative tribunals in Ontario (collectively, “tribunals”) on appropriate matters, subject to any applicable legislation, rules, procedures, or practice directions of those tribunals.

X.  Federal Court Matters

Candidates are not permitted to appear on matters before the Federal Court. 

 
Terms or Concepts Explained