Legal Credentials: From Parchment to Pixels


December 2023

In 1856, the Court of Buckingham Palace’ Order in Council signalled the beginning of the legal profession in what would become British Columbia. The colonial Supreme Court of Civil Justice of “Vancouver’s Island” was empowered to admit barristers, solicitors, proctors and writers of the signet from the UK and Ireland. When Henry Pering Pellew Crease, Esq. became the first barrister in the colony in 1858, there were no formal Rolls to sign. By 1884, the Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island had only 37 barristers and solicitors​​.

Fast forward to 2023, the Law Society of BC has taken over from His Royal Highness Prince Albert, and evolved its own methods for licensing its roughly 13,000 members. After 150 plus years of paper-based certifications, a new system of digital credentials has arrived.

Law Society digital credentials are stored in a custom BC Wallet App on smartphones. And combined with your Service BC digital credential, it offers striking benefits. Streamlined access to digitalized court records, including DARS audio, is now at your fingertips. And because your identity and professional status are digitally vetted, you can use the app to sign undertakings and gain far deeper access than via Court Services Online alone. Log into the Law Society’s Member Portal to get your digital credential, then go here to get access.

Courthouse Libraries BC is also integrating digital credentials, and their plan is for Law Society digital credential holders to access remote subscription databases seamlessly, unlocking a trove of eBooks, law journals and more.