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If I have to Answer Yes to any of the Good Character Questions, can I still get a Law Society License?
After you go to Paralegal School or Law School, your next natural step will be to apply to Ontario's Law Society. The last step in the licensing process is a Good Character Investigation. Breathe. Well, breathe a little. In many cases, it sounds more ominous than it is. In s. 27(2) of the Law Society Act reads, "It is a requirement for the issuance of every licence under this Act that the applicant be of good character." For this reason, there is a Good Character section with questions on the Application form.
The Law Society of Ontario publishes a Licensee Application Checklist. Part B deals with Good Character questions.
The Process for a Good Character Hearing
You apply to the Law Society of Ontario through an online application form, which ultimately becomes an Affidavit. This aspect of the application is essential. The contents of your application, once they become an Affidavit/Application, are sworn answers. Any mistakes can be treated as a fib and call into question your character. It is imperative not to be sloppy with the application. A simple mistake could mean an investigative Interview.
Providing all goes well in the Application process; you should receive your P1 or L1 licence. If it didn't, and you need to have a hearing, we can help you.
Having the Good Character Hearing
- If you are a paralegal licensing candidate, you will have a hearing before a three-person panel consisting of a lawyer, a paralegal and a lay bencher. In some cases, the panel may be two lawyers and a lay bencher.
- If you are a lawyer licensing candidate, you will have a hearing before two lawyers and a lay bencher.
In both cases, the panel's composition will likely be lawyer/paralegal benchers, but there are those licensees who adjudicate at the Law Society Tribunal who are not benchers. Ultimately, the panel composition is subject to some rules found in the Tribunal's Practice Rules.
How we can Help
We did the first Good Character hearing in the Law Society of Ontario's history, where a paralegal represented an applicant. That was ten years ago. Since then, we have stayed current on the law and jurisprudence coming out of the Law Society Tribunal on Good Character. Visit our client resources page for some notable cases on Good Character Hearings in Ontario.
Let our experience work for you. We will help you build the case. We will review the issues triggering the hearing, check what you have done since, collect your biographical information, organize and compile your character references, professional references, get your supporting documents, prepare you for an interview and a hearing. We will also work with witnesses to make sure the time is available and ready for a potential cross-examination. We will also prepare and put together your document books, a book of authorities and help you negotiate an agreed statement of facts. We can help you take some of the worries out of the process by guiding you through it.
Do Not Go it Alone
It can be hard to discuss aspects of your life which you might regret or make you feel embarrassed. Fear not. Everyone makes mistakes. Let me share my case with you. Know that we understand the sensitive nature of these types of issues. We will be kind, understanding, and objective for you. These hearing can be incredibly emotional, and you will need someone who can be objective in navigating you through the process.
If you have any questions, call us today.