Back to Navigation

Call to the Bar


About the call
Who is eligible for call to the bar?
Call to the Bar Fee
Documents to be Filed
Location/Time of Call
Call to the Bar Information Bulletin
New Member Information
Petition for the Call to the Bar and Certificate of Fitness Form
Attendance
Required Court Apparel For Call
Deferral
 


About the Call

To be called to the Bar of Ontario, candidates must complete and meet all the licensing and good character requirements established by the Law Society as necessary to becoming a lawyer in this province.

Generally, a call to the bar follows the successful completion of the Licensing Process. Candidates who have successfully completed and met all administrative and program requirements for the Licensing Process, in accordance with By-Law 4 of the Law Society, are eligible to be called to the Bar of Ontario. Candidates must successfully complete the Barrister Licensing Examination and the Solicitor Licensing Examination, fulfill the Experiential Training Component (e.g. Articling or the LPP), file all documents and fees required and be of good character to be called. For some candidates, however, including lawyers transferring from within Canada, and Ontario law deans and professors, completion of some mandatory requirements of the Licensing Process may not be required. These candidates should contact the Law Society for more information.

In-person call ceremonies are typically held in June in Toronto, Ottawa and London and September and January in Toronto only. Candidates who commence articles (a ten-month term) in September or later of one year will not be eligible for the calls to the bar in June of the following year. The next opportunity for call would be September in the following year.

*Note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 health situation, in-person ceremonies are cancelled until further notice. As candidates become eligible for call, Licensing and Accreditation will contact them through their online account to advise them of next steps to complete in order to be administratively called. More information on the administrative call process is available on the LSO COVID-19 Response page.


Who is eligible for call to the bar?

Candidates who have completed the Licensing Process, mobility & transfer candidates (licensed in other Canadian jurisdictions), and law deans/professors (from approved Ontario law schools) who successfully complete all requirements of the Law Society, are eligible for call to the bar.

  • Licensing Process Candidates
    To be eligible for call to the bar all candidates must:
    • have successfully completed all components of the Licensing Process as required;
    • have paid all Law Society fees, including the call to the bar fee;
    • have filed the required documents;
    • be of good character, as required by section 27(2) of the Law Society Act - candidates have a continuing obligation to keep the responses to the questions set out in the Good Character Section of their Application current, complete and correct prior to the date of call; and
    • have submitted all the required call to the bar related documents.
     
  • Mobility & Transfer Candidates
    Transfer candidates are eligible for call to the bar who have met the requirements for admission as set out in By-Law 4, Section 9(2)(a)(i)(ii)(iii) respectively and have:
    • submitted all documents and fees related to making application for admission to the Law Society of Ontario as required by the Administrative Compliance Processes Department (ACP);
    • paid the Licensing Examination fees, where applicable;
    • passed the required transfer examinations, where applicable;
    • submitted all call to the bar related documents; and
    • paid all fees including the call to the bar fee.

Call to the Bar Fee

All candidates (except Mobility Candidates) are required to pay a call to the bar fee as prescribed in the Fees Schedule by the required deadline (under the "Fees and Forms').


Documents to be Filed

To be eligible for call, the Law Society requires that the following documents be executed correctly and present in the candidate's file. Candidates will be notified when and how to submit the required documents for call. (Mobility and Transfer candidates may not be required to submit all these documents. Please contact the Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department for further information):

  • an Application for the Licensing Process duly signed and commissioned/notarized;
  • certified proof of legal name;
  • an official law transcript or NCA certificate (issued directly from the institution to the Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department) that confers the LL.B./J.D./NCA;
  • two recent passport photos;
  • certified proof of legal name change (if applicable);
  • all articling documents including:  
    • Articles of Clerkship
    • Certificate of Service Under Articles
  • All candidates must complete a "Petition for Call to the Bar and Certificate of Fitness Form". The document must be fully completed, signed and witnessed. This document will be sent to candidate's account if they are being administratively called.
  • Law Deans/Professors must file a "Petition for Call to the Bar and Certificate of Fitness Form (Admission Under By-Law 4 made under the Law Society Act - Without Examination)". The document must be fully completed, signed and sworn before a commissioner for the taking of oaths. 
  • Transfer Candidates must file a "Petition for Call to the Bar and Certificate of Fitness Form (Transfer from Another Province or Territory of Canada)". This document should be submitted to the Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department once they have been approved for call. 
  • Transfer, Mobility and Academic candidates for call to the bar must complete and submit the "Member's Record Input Form" before being called to the bar. 

Call to the Bar Information Bulletin

Prospective call candidates will be sent a Call to the Bar Information Bulletin in their online account prior to their call. Candidates will be sent a bulletin several weeks prior to the anticipated call date.


New Member Information

New Member Information Packages will be available to each call candidate if they are participating in a live call ceremony. These packages will have information specific to the day of call, guest seating tickets/vouchers and the Law Society of Ontario membership information. Candidates being called in Toronto will receive their packages a few weeks prior to the in-person ceremony. Newly called members will receive further Membership details including their Member number approximately three weeks after their call ceremony. Any further inquiries should be directed to the Membership department post-call.

Candidates who are being administratively called instead of being called at a live call ceremony, will be sent all new member information electronically through their online account.


Petition for the Call to the Bar and Certificate of Fitness Form

This form/petition will be provided to candidates participating in an in-person ceremony, and for those who are being administratively called, this document will be sent to their online account and can be submitted electronically to Licensing and Accreditation.

Please note that the document differs according to what type of ceremony candidates are participating in (in-person call vs. administrative call) and candidates are expected to submit the form in the manner requested by Licensing and Accreditation.


Attendance (required for in-person ceremonies) 

All eligible candidates must be in attendance for an in-person call to the bar ceremony. At the call, candidates are presented with the Degree of Barrister-at-Law by the Law Society and a Court Certificate of Qualification and are required to swear or affirm the oath required to practise law in Ontario. Candidates may also take an oath of allegiance.

The oaths can be accessed on the Law Society website (By-Law 4, sections 21(1) and 22 (optional)).

Following the conclusion of the in-person call, the newly called members of the Ontario Bar are entitled to practise law in Ontario, subject to the rules and regulations set out and enforced by the Law Society in its regulatory role, to ensure the competence of the profession.

Candidates who are being administratively called are not required to attend in person. Candidates who are being administratively called do not have a ceremony component to the call process. Instead, all requirements and forms will be sent to candidates through their online account and are expected to be filed with Licensing and Accreditation electronically by the required deadlines. Once the required call documents are submitted by the candidate, Licensing and Accreditation staff will review these documents and the candidate file in order to verify and process the information. During peak licensing periods, this may take three to six weeks to complete from the time a candidate submits their call documents.

 Once licensed, administratively called candidates will be notified through their online account and can commence practising Ontario law, subject to the rules and regulations set out and enforced by the Law Society in its regulatory role, to ensure the competence of the profession.


Required Court Apparel for an In-Person Call

Every candidate for call to the bar must appear before Convocation in full court apparel, which consists of:

  • black shoes
  • black or dark grey socks
  • black, dark grey or dark grey striped trousers or skirt
  • black gown vest
  • black gown
  • white shirt with stiff wing collar and white tabs

Candidates are encouraged to make arrangements to either purchase or rent court apparel at least one and a half months before the call to ensure they will have full court apparel for the day of the ceremony.

The clothes worn to the call to the bar in Ontario are the same that are worn for a court appearance in many common law jurisdictions around the world. Variations on this legal wear go back to the 17th century and derive from the style of clothing worn by nobles at the time. When fashion changed, some professions, including the law, retained them as a symbol of their professional identity. Legal dress expresses the dignity of the court and as such, needs to be worn appropriately. It is generally bad form to wear your robe outside of the courthouse.

Court dress is worn at the call to the bar because new Barristers-at-Law are being presented to the courts at the ceremony. In the early days of the Law Society this was done by walking from Convocation Room to the other side of Osgoode Hall. Today, a Special Sitting of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Superior Court of Justice is convened wherever the ceremony takes place. As a result of this procedure, the gowning rules of both the Superior Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal for Ontario apply to new Barristers-at Law present at the call to the bar ceremony.

Gowning rules of the Superior Court of Justice: http://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/practice-directions/provincial/#A_Gowning_for_Counsel

Gowning rules of the Court of Appeal for Ontario: http://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/notices/pd/civil.htm#_Toc472957492


Deferral

Candidates who wish to defer their call to the bar must send a letter of notification to the Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department through their online account indicating the date on which they expect to be called.

Licensing Process candidates are advised that they must be called to the bar within three years of submitting their application for licensing and successfully completing all requirements for call. Any deferment of a call beyond the three years may require the candidate to complete such further experience and studies as may be required by the Director, Professional Development and Competence at the Law Society of Ontario.

Terms or Concepts Explained