Under the National Mobility Agreement
Mobility agreements signed by numerous law societies (including the Law Society of Ontario) make it easier for lawyers in reciprocating jurisdictions to provide professional services in other jurisdictions (See the Mobility Exemption Summary Chart for an overview).
To facilitate inter-jurisdictional practice, reciprocating law societies have implemented the following:
a) a temporary practice status in their jurisdiction which allows lawyers to practise in a host jurisdiction for up to 100 days in a calendar year provided they:
- have liability insurance and defalcation coverage in their home jurisdiction (where they are called and resident);
- are not subject to criminal or disciplinary proceedings; and
- have no discipline record.
b) a new exemption for lawyers called in more than one reciprocating jurisdiction, ensuring that there is coverage for their activities in these jurisdictions while paying for insurance coverage under only one reciprocating law society’s policy. Ontario lawyers who are also called to the Bar in other reciprocating jurisdictions, may generally apply for exemption in those reciprocating jurisdictions in which they are called and not resident.
Eligibility for the mobility exemption
If you are called in Ontario and also called and resident in another reciprocating jurisdiction you may complete an Application for Exemption from paying the LAWPRO premium under exemption “g” – resident and practising in reciprocating jurisdiction.
Currently, Quebec is not a reciprocating jurisdiction.
Coverage under the Agreement
The insurance policy of the home jurisdiction (where you are resident and paying the insurance premium) will respond to any claims that arise out of your current professional services. This applies if the claim is made for services you provide in the home jurisdiction, or made in the jurisdiction where you may qualify for the temporary practice status, as described above.
The agreement also requires that the law society of the home jurisdiction will provide coverage of at least the same scope as the liability insurance provided by the host jurisdiction for a given claim, where the claim most concerns the host jurisdiction.
If your practice was previously located in another reciprocating jurisdiction and you had coverage there for your practice at the time, that insurance program would respond to claims that subsequently arise out of this earlier law practice.
Mobility Run-Off coverage
A lawyer claiming exemption “g” who is currently practising in a reciprocating jurisdiction but had previously maintained insurance coverage under the LAWPRO program is provided with Run-Off coverage by LAWPRO, for the lawyer’s earlier practice in Ontario.
This is provided at no charge, and has limits of $1 million per claim/$2 million in the aggregate (reinstated annually) and a deductible of $5,000 per claim. The limits and deductible are inclusive of claims expenses, indemnity payments and costs of repairs.
These limits are substantially higher than the standard Run-Off coverage limits provided to lawyers in other exemption categories.
This Run-Off coverage applies only to claims which arise out of the exempt lawyer’s earlier practice in Ontario, provided that the lawyer practised in Ontario on a permanent basis at the time that the professional services that gave rise to the claim were performed, and provided that the lawyer maintains the full insurance coverage at the time.
Once a lawyer is no longer engaging in the practice of law in a reciprocating jurisdiction in which the lawyer is resident, or ceases to maintain the mandatory professional liability insurance coverage in that jurisdiction for ongoing practice, the lawyer is no longer eligible for exemption on the basis of eligibility rule (g) under the Ontario program. Of course, at that point it may be that the lawyer is eligible for exemption under the LAWPRO program on some other basis, depending on the lawyer’s practice circumstances.