Special authorization to practice in Quebec
Special authorization is valid for a specific file until a final decision is rendered, for a maximum of 12 months. If necessary, it can be renewed. Holders of a special authorization do not become members of the Barreau du Québec.
Special authorization is reserved for lawyers practicing outside Quebec.
Conditions to obtain special authorization
You must provide the following original documents:
- the duly completed application for special authorization for persons practicing outside Quebec (s. 42.4 PC);
- a certificate issued by a competent officer of the Bar of which you are a member, attesting that you are legally authorized to practice law outside Quebec and confirming that you have not been disbarred or that your right to practice law outside Quebec has not been limited or suspended; and
- a professional liability insurance certificate covering professional services provided in Quebec ($1 million coverage).
How to obtain special authorization
Applications for special authorization are reviewed by the Secretary of the Order, who ensures that the conditions for issuance are met. Applicants who meet these conditions are issued special authorization by the Bâtonnier of Quebec.
It takes at least ten business days to process an application for special authorization. If the application is incomplete, it may take longer. If you need special authorization sooner, you must indicate it in your application so it can be considered urgent.
For litigation files
The Bâtonnier of Quebec may grant special authorization to lawyers if they demonstrate a connection with Quebec (for example, criminal or penal proceedings against a client, damage sustained in Quebec by non-Quebec residents, a rogatory commission). Since this is a special authorization to occasionally practice in Quebec without having to become a member of the Barreau du Québec, you may submit no more than ten applications a year. The Board of Directors has discretion to issue more authorizations if special circumstances warrant.
You must submit a duly completed form for each application.
Given the rules of civil procedure and the civil law applicable in certain cases, and to protect the public, the Barreau du Québec may request that lawyers applying for special authorization be assisted by legal counsel who is a member of the Barreau du Québec.
Moreover, for class actions, special authorization is granted only if the following additional conditions are met:
- a lawyer who is a member of the Barreau du Québec must be on the case; and
- having a Canadian lawyer on the case is justified given the national scope of the class action (parallel proceedings are filed in other provinces, class includes all Canadians, representation of a defendant company outside Quebec, etc.).
For immigration files
The Bâtonnier of Quebec may issue up to 50 special authorizations per year (including renewals) for immigration files. The Board of Directors has discretion to issue more authorizations if the lawyer in question can demonstrate that the case is connected to Quebec and if special circumstances warrant.
Les frais administratifs
For all litigation files, the administrative fees per calendar year are as follows:
- 1 to 10 applications=$237 total
Exceptionally, for 11 or more applications=$1,155 total
For all immigration files, the administrative fees per calendar year are as follows:
- 1 to 10 applications=$237 total
- 11 to 50 applications=$1,155 total
Exceptionally, more than 51 applications=$2,290 total
The fees are payable online by credit card (Visa or MasterCard).
There is no fee for renewal applications.
Special authorization to practice remotely in Quebec 42.4 PC
Lawyers who physically practice in Quebec must have a special permit or authorization even if they practice for a Canadian company or firm located elsewhere in Canada, provide professional services exclusively to Canadian clients in the law of the province in question or in federal law and the only connecting factor is their physical location in Quebec.
Lawyers who wish to establish themselves and practice in Quebec are required to obtain such authorization. This requirement does not apply to lawyers who are temporarily in Quebec, for example on vacation, with no intention of practicing in Quebec.
A lawyer who is a member of the Ontario Bar practices for a firm located in Ontario, the lawyer’s files concern only Ontario clients, only in Ontario or federal law, but the lawyer’s office is physically located in Quebec.
In that case, a Canadian or foreign lawyer could obtain authorization to practice in Quebec if they declare under oath that they have such a practice, i.e.:
- The only factor connecting them to Quebec is the physical location where they practice. In all other respects, the member’s practice in Quebec is invisible:
- The lawyer does not provide any services to Quebec clients.
- The lawyer does not practice Quebec law (with the exception of federal law for Canadian lawyers).
- The lawyer does not represent clients before Quebec courts, tribunals or agencies.
- The lawyer does not use a professional (trust or general) bank account in Quebec.
- The lawyer does not charge any fees in Quebec.
- The lawyer’s professional domicile is outside Quebec.
- There is no mention of a Quebec address on the lawyer’s professional correspondence or other documents produced in the course of their practice (letters, emails, invoices, proceedings, etc.).
- The lawyer’s clients are not notified that the lawyer practices in Quebec.
- The lawyer does not advertise or solicit clients in Quebec.
- The lawyer has notified their employer, if applicable, that they are practicing in Quebec (employer’s signature).
Provided the lawyer meets these conditions and the conditions to obtain special authorization, this authorization is issued by the President of the Barreau du Québec for a period of twelve months and may be renewed yearly upon request.