When a lawyer has been found guilty of dishonesty or fraud and caused his or her client(s) to suffer a financial loss, the Council of the Law Society may approve a payment from the Compensation Fund, which is a discretionary fund provided through a fee paid by lawyers as part of their Law Society dues each year. An application for compensation can only be considered after the Discipline Committee hearing has taken place.
Many factors are taken into account when determining if an application for compensation will be recommended and to what extent. The factors include: hardship to the claimant; and whether there are alternative civil or criminal remedies available to the claimant.
Before his or her application is considered, a claimant may be required to exhaust any civil remedies he or she has against the lawyer or take steps to institute criminal proceedings.
Upon review of an application, the Council of the Law Society can make a recommendation to the membership to allow the claim in whole or in part and make a payment out of the fund to the former client upon approval. Council may also deny all or part of the claim. Payment of any amount is totally within the discretion of Council and must be approved by the membership at a special meeting.