About the Law SocietyThe Law Society of Prince Edward Island was officially created in 1876. Since then the Law Society has undergone many changes as times and the legal system have changed.
The Society’s main task is to regulate the practice of law within the province. The Law Society is governed by legislation passed by the PEI Legislature in 1992 called the Legal Profession Act. The Act outlines the Society’s objectives as:
A Self-Governing Profession The Law Society is an independent, self-governing profession. Self-government means that the Law Society sets standards for admission and standards for professionalism for lawyers in their practice, and a process for assisting and for disciplining lawyers who do not meet those standards. The Law Society recognizes that this responsibility must be carried out in the public interest.
Protection for the PublicIn order to protect the public, the Law Society has adopted Regulations under the Legal Profession Act and a Code of Professional Conduct for lawyers, which outline a lawyer’s duties to clients, to the profession, and to the court.
The Law Society also protects the public by receiving and dealing with complaints about a lawyer’s conduct. If the Law Society’s process finds that a lawyer is guilty of unprofessional conduct, the Law Society can discipline the lawyer.
The Law Society has extensive requirements for lawyers to receive and account for funds and other property held by them for their clients in the law firm’s trust accounts. All law firms’ trust accounts are reviewed annually by accountants who report to the Law Society. The Law Society of Prince Edward Island was the first Law Society in Canada to do this on an annual basis. The Law Society can also require an audit by an accountant during an investigation or hearing into a complaint.
The Law Society also protects the public by requiring all lawyers who provide services to the public to be covered by insurance for errors or omissions. The Society also requires that each lawyer contribute yearly to a fund that provides some financial assistance to clients in those rare cases where a lawyer has wrongly taken money from the client.
Assistance to MembersThe Law Society provides programs to allow law school graduates to become enrolled as Articled Clerks where the Clerk learns from a senior lawyer for one year. The Clerks also attend a Bar Admission Course where the Clerks are educated in the laws and practice particular to this province, and the skills necessary to practice law. Once admitted to the Bar as a Member of the Law Society, the Clerk becomes a lawyer eligible to practice law in the province. The Law Society provides programs and advice to assist Members with their practice and their continuing education.