Authority to Practise Law

Who Has the Authority to Practise Law?

Part 9 of the Law Society Act, 1996 (hereinafter, “the Act”) states that no one is entitled to practise law except for the persons named in section 33(1) of the Act.  It is important for you to know who has the authority to practise law, and what acts constitute the "practice of law" under the Act because:
  • the practice of law is restricted to certain persons, including practising members of the Law Society; and
  • you must not knowingly facilitate anyone other than a practising lawyer to engage in the practice of law (section 34 of the Act.)  Also, see rule 3.4-23 of the Law Society of New Brunswick Code of Professional Conduct , hereinafter the "Code of Conduct", on the duty to exercise due diligence in the supervision of non-lawyer staff members and sections 6.1 to 6.1-3 of the Code of Conduct on supervision of staff members, including delegation.  These rules help to outline what a lawyer must not permit a non-lawyer to do.).
There are limited exceptions established in the Act.  See sections 33(1)(c) and 33(1)(d) of the Act and section 75 of the General Rules under the Law Society Act, 1996.
The term "practice of law” is defined in the Act and means applying legal principles and procedures for the benefit of or at the request of another person and, amongst other things, includes:
  • acting as counsel or advocate;
  • providing legal services;
  • giving legal advice;
  • issuing an originating notice of action, notice of application, petition or similar document in any legal proceeding according to the provisions of any statute.