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The Association has four main classes of membership to choose from:

1. Active Member (Full Member)

A full member of the Association shall be
a member in good standing with the Law
Society of Ontario, paid up as to fees and
assessments, a significant portion of whose
practice is devoted to the defense of criminal
charges or a lawyer who devotes a significant
portion of their efforts to the interests of the
defense bar.

  • Junior Active members have been called in the last two years
  • Senior Active members have been called for 3+ years


2. Student Member

  • Student-at-law or student in an
    accredited law school

3. Observer Member

An Observer member is a practising criminal defence lawyer outside of Ontario in good standing with their regulatory body.

  • Junior Observer members have been called in the last two years
  • Senior Observer members have been called for 3+ years

4. Affiliate Member

An Affiliate member shall be any person who shall apply for such membership that is a practising lawyer in good standing with their legal regulatory body that does not meet the requirements for a Full member or Observer member. An Affiliate member can be a law professor or a retired member of the judiciary. An Affiliate member is not a Full-time Crown Attorney or an honourary member. An Affiliate member must be someone that has a strong interest in criminal law and is aligned with the goals of the Association.


CLA Membership application information:

  1. New membership applications submitted between September 15, 2022 and December 15, 2022 will provide the applicant with a membership up to March 31, 2023
  2. Memberships are non-refundable or transferable.
  3. Please allow up to 15 business days for applications to be reviewed and fully processed.

Benefits of membership:

Membership benefits for Active (Full):

  • CLA Membership ID card. Personalized photo identification cards are available to active members at no charge. Through special arrangements with the Ministry of Correctional Services, these cards have been designated as an acceptable form of identification for purposes of obtaining unobstructed access to the various detention facilities.
  • Subscription to For The Defence newsletter
  • Inclusion in online membership directory
  • Inclusion in online public referral directory
  • Main Listserv access (email discussion forum with more than 850 criminal lawyers)
  • Recent Call Listserv access (open to student members and members called in last seven years)
  • Member rates on Spring and Fall Conference
  • Special rates to all CLA professional development programs including events targeted to Recent Calls, Mental Health Conference, Women in Criminal Law Events and more
  • Preferred rates on recorded webcasts
  • Conference materials at member pricing
  • Access to members only section of website
  • Access to a Group Benefits program (new in 2022) (Active, Observer and Affiliate members only)
  • Opportunity to run for any director positions on CLA Board (Active members only)
  • CLA voting privileges (Active members only – for director position votes, applicable to region/city noted in your CLA membership record)
  • Corporate GoodLife Membership discount (open to members and up to four family members) - a $350+ savings a year off a regular GoodLife Membership
  • Exclusive access to various discounted products and services, including: theatre, hotels, attractions, movies, shopping, travel & much more, to all members through our discount partner Perkopolis.
  • 10% discount at Storwell-Self-Storage
  • 40% off Aleri Services

Active (Full) Membership:
A full member of the Association shall be a member in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario, paid up as to fees and assessments, a significant portion of whose practice is devoted to the defense of criminal charges or a lawyer who devotes a significant portion of their efforts to the interests of the defense bar. No full-time Crown Attorney shall be a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association. Only full members of the association have voting privileges and have the right to serve as an elected member of the governing body.

Download application.

$50.00 ($50.00 + $5.60 HST)
Called to the bar after January 1, 2020

$150.00 ($150.00 + $19.5 HST)
Called to the bar on or before December 31, 2019

Membership benefits for students:

  • Electronic subscription to For The Defence newsletter
  • Main Listserv access (email discussion forum with more than 850 criminal lawyers)
  • Recent Call Listserv access (open to student members and members called in last seven years)
  • Student member rates on Spring and Fall Conference
  • Special rates to all CLA professional development programs including events targeted to Recent Calls, Mental Health Conference, Women in Criminal Law Events and more
  • Preferred rates on recorded webcasts
  • Conference materials at member pricing
  • Access to members only section of website
  • Corporate GoodLife Membership discount (open to members and up to four family members) - a $350+ savings a year off a regular GoodLife Membership
  • Exclusive access to various discounted products and services, including: theatre, hotels, attractions, movies, shopping, travel & much more, to all members through our discount partner Perkopolis.
  • 10% discount at Storwell-Self-Storage
  • CLA Membership ID card not available to 1L, 2L or 3L students
  • 40% off Aleri Services


Student Membership:
If you are a student-at-law or a student in an accredited law school, you may apply for a Student membership.
Download application.

1L Student - First year law student - Free

2L Student - Second year law student - $16.95 ($15.00 + $1.95 HST)

3L Student - Third year law student - $16.95 ($15.00 + $1.95 HST)

Articling Student or Seeking Articling Position $28.25 ($25 + $3.25 HST)

Please note that student members are required to notify the CLA office once they have passed the bar. In order to maintain a membership with the CLA after passing the bar, the individual must then be a practicing criminal defence lawyer. Those that end up not becoming practicing criminal defence lawyers will have their membership lapsed with no refund.

Accredited Law Schools in Ontario: Accredited Law Schools in Other Provinces:


Observer Membership
An observer member shall be any person who shall apply for such membership and be granted same by the Governing Body. An Observer member is a practising criminal defence lawyer outside of Ontario in good standing with their regulatory body.
Download Application

$56.50 ($50 + $6.50 HST)
Called to the bar after January 1, 2020

$113.00 ($100 + $13.00 HST)
Called to the bar on or before December 31, 2019

Benefits that WILL be provided to Observer Members:

  • Include in online membership directory
  • Listserv access (email discussion forum with more than 850 criminal lawyers)
  • Access to members only section of website
  • Access to all CLA events and conferences at the member rate
  • Access to CLA member rates to webcast recordings
  • For The Defence newsletter
  • Access to a Group Benefits program (new in 2022) (Active, Observer and Affiliate members only)
  • Corporate GoodLife Membership discount (open to members and up to four family members). A $350+ savings a year off a regular GoodLife Membership
  • Exclusive access to various discounted products and services, including: theatre, hotels, attractions, movies, shopping, travel & much more, to all members through our discount partner Perkopolis.
  • 10% discount at Storwell-Self-Storage
  • 40% off Aleri Services

    Benefits that WILL NOT be available to Observer members:

    • CLA Membership ID card
    • CLA voting privileges
    • Cannot run for any director positions on CLA Board


    Affiliate Membership
    An Affiliate member shall be any person who shall apply for such membership that is a practising lawyer in good standing with their legal regulatory body that does not meet the requirements for a Full member or Observer member. An Affiliate member can be a law professor or a retired member of the judiciary. An Affiliate member is not a Full-time Crown Attorney or an honourary member. An Affiliate member must be someone that has a strong interest in criminal law and is aligned with the goals of the Association. An Affiliate member must be recommended by the Membership Committee to the Governing Body for approval to be determined. An Affiliate member is precluded from being a Full member of the Association. 
    Affiliate members must apply and pay online (follow the directions below). Payment will be refunded if the Governing Body does not accept your application. Affiliate applicants will be asked to submit details about their current practice for review by the Governing Body.

    $113.00 ($100 + $13.00 HST)

    Benefits that WILL be provided to Affiliate Members:

    • Access to all CLA events and conferences at the member rate
    • Access to CLA member rates to webcast recordings
    • Conference materials at member pricing
    • For The Defence newsletter
    • Access to a Group Benefits program (new in 2022) (Active, Observer and Affiliate members only)
    • Corporate GoodLife Membership discount (open to members and up to four family members). A $350+ savings a year off a regular GoodLife Membership
    • Exclusive access to various discounted products and services, including: theatre, hotels, attractions, movies, shopping, travel & much more, to all members through our discount partner Perkopolis.
    • 10% discount at Storwell-Self-Storage
    • 40% off Aleri Services

      Benefits that WILL NOT be available to Affiliate members:

      • Access to members only section of website
      • Inclusion in online membership directory
      • CLA Listserv Access
      • CLA Membership ID card
      • CLA voting privileges
      • Cannot run for any director positions on CLA Board


      Criminal Lawyers’ Association

      189 Queen Street East, Suite 1
      Toronto, ON M5A 1S2
      P. 416-214-9875
      F. 416-968-6818
      [email protected]

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