The Law Society of Prince Edward Island has a number of types of membership status (see below). Membership is renewed each year by submitting the required forms and reports and paying the required yearly fee, insurance premiums (if applicable), and contributions to the reimbursement fund.
Members who hold practising status may provide legal services and advice to the public or to their employer. They are entitled to practise in all courts and to prosecute and defend all court actions. Practising Members are either “insured” or “insurance exempt”. Most practising members purchase liability insurance through the Law Society’s insurance program, unless the Council of the Law Society grants an exemption for insurance, which is typical for government lawyers and in-house and corporate counsel.
A member may apply to become a non-practising member. A non-practising member cannot practise law or give legal advice, nor are they covered by the Law Society’s insurance program, but they are still a member of the Law Society and subject to its regulation. A non-practising member pays a reduced membership fee.
If a non-practising member wants to return to practising status, an application must be made. Non-practising members who hold that status for a period longer than three years may be required by Council to meet a number of conditions, including completing a period of service with a practising lawyer, successfully completing a portion or all of the Bar Admission Course, satisfying Council’s inquires re: fitness to practise, examinations and/or a period of articles.
Non-practising members may need to change their status to that of practising before they can become a member of another Law Society under the National Mobility Agreement. Contact the host Law Society or its website for more information.
A Member may apply to become a retired member at age 65 or earlier if the member is permanently disabled and unable to practise due to a disability. A retired member does not practise law, but is still a member of the Law Society and subject to its regulation. A retired member pays a reduced membership fee.
A lawyer’s membership in the Law Society can be suspended in two ways. If a member has not paid the required fees or does not submit required annual reports by the due date, the Legal Profession Act requires that the lawyer’s membership in the Law Society be suspended until the fees (including an administration charge) are paid, or the required reports submitted. This is often called an administrative suspension.
A lawyer’s membership can also be suspended either during a discipline investigation regarding a lawyer’s conduct, in order to protect the public, and/or as a discipline penalty following a formal hearing. A suspended lawyer cannot practise in any manner during a period of suspension, and is still subject to the Law Society’s regulation.
Members who wish to resign their membership must apply to Council for permission to resign. They must submit the required forms and make suitable arrangements for their files, trust accounts, and the winding up of their business. A member who is facing a discipline investigation or hearing would not normally be allowed to resign by Council before the investigation or hearing is concluded. A person who has resigned is no longer a member of the Law Society and is not subject to its regulation.