What is the CBA?
The Canadian Bar Association is a professional organization that provides educational and networking opportunities for lawyers. The CBA represents more than 37,000 lawyers, judges, notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada. The CBA is committed to enhancing the professional and commercial interests of a diverse membership and to protecting the independence of the judiciary and the Bar. More...
What is a Law Society?
In Canada, there are Law Societies in each province and territory that are the governing bodies of the legal profession in that jurisdiction. In Quebec there are two professional bodies, the Barreau du Québec and the Chambre des notaires. In each province/territory, a lawyer must be a member of a Canadian Law Society in order to offer his or her services as a lawyer to the public. The Law Societies make sure that their members meet professional standards. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is an umbrella organization for the provincial/territorial law societies, through which law societies can be contacted. The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards to ensure the public is well served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
Where can I learn more about Canada's justice and court systems, and where can I receive essential legal information?
The Department of Justice website provides detailed information on Canada's Justice and Court systems. The Department also produces an online booklet called "Canada's System of Justice," which provides a good overview of the Canadian legal system.
The BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association operates Dial-A-Law, a free service available by phone and online, which provides a library of practical information about BC law in the form of scripts prepared by lawyers.
In every province in Canada, there are public legal information organizations that educate and inform Canadians about the law and the legal system.
For additional resources, please consult our legal links.
For the Public
Finding/Contacting a Lawyer
I need legal assistance but can't afford a lawyer. How can I get help?
Legal aid services are government-funded or subsidized legal services for people having difficulty affording legal services. Pro bono services are legal services provided by lawyers, free of charge, out of their commitment to the public interest and access to justice. To find out more about qualifying for legal aid, contact the legal aid plan for your province. The Law Students' Legal Advice Program that is run by law students at the University of British Columbia offers free legal advice and legal representation at clinics located throughout the Greater Vancouver Regional District. For additional information regarding pro bono services in BC visit probononet.bc.ca.
I need legal assistance but I don't know a lawyer. Where can I find one?
If you need assistance in obtaining a lawyer to represent you in BC, call the Lawyer Referral Service at 604.687.3221 or toll free 1.800.663.1919 for the name of a lawyer in your area who practises in the area of law relating to your issue.
Lawyer Conduct and 'Good Standing'
I have a question / concern about my lawyer's conduct. Who can help me?
The Canadian Bar Association does not discipline lawyers or mediate lawyer-client disputes. The Law Societies in each province/territory are responsible for making sure that lawyers practise law competently and ethically. They can discipline lawyers who do not meet these standards. You might be able to resolve your concern if you get in touch with your lawyer right away. It might be a simple misunderstanding that can be cleared up with a conversation. If a resolution between you and your lawyer cannot be reached, contact the Law Society of British Columbia with the details of your concern.
How do I find out whether a specific lawyer is in "good standing"?
The Canadian Bar Association cannot make a determination of a lawyer's "good standing". The Law Societies in each province/territory are responsible for making sure that lawyers practise law competently and ethically. Contact the Law Society of British Columbia for more information.
Becoming a Lawyer
I am currently attending a law school outside Canada / practicing law in another country. How can I become a recognized lawyer in Canada?
Training and qualification requirements for lawyers from outside Canada can be obtained from the National Committee on Accreditation of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
Coming to Canada to Practice Law
I am currently a student and would like to become a lawyer. Where can I find information on law schools?
There are 20 recognized law schools in Canada, and each has a website. The Canadian Law Schools website offers direct access to each website.
Why can't I log in the Members-Only section of the CBA website?
First, ensure that you've entered your last name and membership number correctly. Be sure to enter your last name only and include all accents.
Login problems are usually due to unpaid or overdue membership fees. Check with your firm to ensure that your dues are up to date. Then, contact the CBA Membership Department at 1.800.267.8860; email@example.com, so that we can confirm your status in our database.
If your membership is found to be up-to-date, you will then be forwarded to one of our technical staff who will help you troubleshoot your access problems.
I can't find my membership number. Who do I contact?
To retrieve your membership number, contact the CBA Membership Department at 1.800.267.8860; firstname.lastname@example.org.