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Frequently Asked Questions for the Law Society of Ontario

Can you confirm that a complaint was received or an investigation is underway regarding a specific licensee?

Information concerning specific complaints made to the Law Society of Ontario and investigations by the Law Society of Ontario are confidential, until or unless they result in regulatory proceedings, which would be public.

Details about regulatory proceedings currently before the Law Society Tribunal are posted on the Law Society Tribunal website on the Current Proceedings page.

How long does it take from when the Law Society receives a complaint about a licensee to when it decides whether to initiate proceedings against the lawyer?

The length of investigations varies widely. As indicated on our website, if it is possible to do so, the individual who made the complaint will be provided with an estimated timeline for completion.

How long do regulatory proceedings take?

Both investigations and regulatory proceedings take time. A licensee may disagree that they engaged in professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming, despite their guilty plea or disagree with the Law Society as to the appropriate regulatory response.  If a regulatory proceeding is commenced, the degree to which the licensee challenges the facts or penalty impacts the length of the proceeding.

What does a “not practising law” status mean? Has the person’s licence been revoked?

Although a licensee may have a status of “not practising,” they remain a licensee and are subject to the Law Society’s regulatory jurisdiction until their licence is revoked by the Law Society, or surrendered by the licensee. 

Why is a licensee suspended administratively?

Due to privacy concerns, we cannot confirm why the licensee has been suspended administratively.

Administrative suspensions occur when a licensee does one or more of the following: 1) not pay an annual fee 2) not comply with CPD 3) not file an annual report or 4) not comply with insurance requirements.

The administrative suspension continues until the licensee meets the requirement and pays any reinstatement fee that may apply. Once this occurs, the lawyer’s or paralegal’s licence is reinstated.

What is an interlocutory suspension?

Pending the completion of any regulatory investigation, the Law Society conducts ongoing risk assessments, to determine if interim measures, such as an interlocutory suspension, may be necessary. Interim measures are used to address serious risk that becomes apparent before an investigation is complete — and before the evidence is available to prosecute on the merits of a case.

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