Canada - Québec International Trade in Legal Services

Canada - Québec International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Act of the Bar of Quebec:

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Lawyer, avocat

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?



To become a lawyer for the first time, a person must complete a two-year college program in the subject of their choice, obtain a civil law degree (3 years ) from one of six specified universities, complete the École du Barreau - Professional training and practice  program (4 or 8 months), and complete a six-month workplace training program (articling).

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits


The holder can practise as a lawyer in Quebec and, under  two  national mobility agreements, can practise federal and Quebec law in all other Canadian provinces and territories as a Canadian Legal Advisor. A new National Mobility Agreement that will come into force late in 2014 will extend full mobility rights for lawyers to and from Quebec on the same terms as currently exists between other Canadian jurisdictions. 


Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

Appearing in court and advising on the law of Quebec is reserved to lawyers licensed in Quebec, except for certain activities that are reserved to Quebec notaries under the Quebec Notaries Act:

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?


What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Multi-Disciplinary Partnership (MDP), Joint Stock Company (JSC)

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

Code of ethics of advocates:

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

Applications to form an LLP, JSC or and MDP must be made to the Bar


Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

The Bar of Quebec




Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

There are no explicit regulatory restrictions on foreign lawyers working on 'fly in/fly out' transactions beyond visa requirements

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

See information for Canada

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

Foreign lawyers are required to obtain a permit as a foreign legal consultant. Fly-in-fly-out practice is not permitted without a permit.

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)


Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

Provide evidence that they are proficient in French.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? Yes
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

No - not without becoming licensed in a Canadian jurisdiction.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?



Yes.  In order to obtain a full licence to practise law in this jurisdiction, foreign lawyers must apply to the Barreau du Québec’s Equivalences Committee which will assess the applicant’s credentials and determine what conditions must be met for admission. Applicants must also demonstrate proficiency in French.



Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

Foreign firms are permitted to establish a commercial presence (a permanent office) to offer advisory services in foreign and international law.  There is no explicit foreign law firm licensing regime which regulates these arrangements.

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

Foreign investment in Canada by non-Canadians is subject to a regulated review process governed by the Investment Canada Act (ICA), a federal department called Industry Canada and
a federal agency called Investment Canada. The ICA provides that every foreign investor (defined by the ICA as a “non-Canadian”) must file a Notification with Industry Canada (unless the investment is specifically exempt under the ICA), every time a non-Canadian begins a new business activity in Canada or acquires control of an existing business in Canada. 
Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Not applicable

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

Not applicable

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

Not applicable

Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they? They can advise on home and international law.
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take?  
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take?  
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL There is no explicit foreign law firm licensing regime which regulates these arrangements.


Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?


May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?


Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?


Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?




Other useful sources or comments or links

The Bar of Quebec: