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Our latest news highlights:
- Important notice: referendum ballots
- Annual General Meeting – Van Ommen is acclaimed as Second Vice-President-elect; member resolution passes
- Survey on legal services in BC
- 2014 Law Society Award recipient
- Referendum called on Trinity Western University’s proposed law school
- Benchers approve 2015 fees
- Resolution adopted at Special General Meeting
Important notice: referendum ballots
[posted October 22, 2014]
[updated October 29, 2014]
The referendum votes will be counted on October 30, with the results being published here later that day.
To be counted, referendum ballots must be received by the Law Society by 5 pm on Wednesday, October 29, 2014.
Referendum ballots were mailed to BC lawyers by October 8, 2014. If you are a member of the Law Society and have not received your ballot in the mail, we encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange to pick up a replacement ballot package.
It is the lawyer's own responsibility to return the completed ballot to the Law Society by 5 pm on October 29, by whatever means are necessary and at the lawyer's expense. Ballots can be delivered directly to the Law Society office at 8th floor, 845 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 4Z9.
For more information on the referendum, see this notice to the profession.
Annual General Meeting – Van Ommen is acclaimed as Second Vice-President-elect; member resolution passes
[posted September 30, 2014]
Three hundred twelve lawyers and 11 students attended at the 14 locations established for the Annual General Meeting on September 30.
Herman Van Ommen, QC was acclaimed as the Second Vice-President-elect. In calling for his nomination, Bencher Nancy Merrill referred to Van Ommen as a “gifted leader” and, in seconding the motion, current Second Vice-President David Crossin, QC said Van Ommen “always conducts himself with good faith, civility and the utmost integrity.” Van Ommen will begin his term as Second Vice-President on January 1, 2015.
The member resolution before the meeting passed by a vote of 188 to 48. The resolution directs the Law Society to require all legal education programs recognized by the Law Society for admission to the bar to provide equal opportunity without discrimination. The Benchers will consider the result of the vote at an upcoming meeting.
Survey on legal services in BC
[posted September 29, 2014]
The Legal Services Regulatory Framework Task Force is conducting surveys of the public, lawyers and legal service providers to study the legal needs in the community, and whether those needs are being met. The questions are intended to identify the types of legal services currently provided in BC and the groups that do not have access to those services, and to assess what services are needed. The focus of the work is to improve access to legal services, particularly in low to middle-income brackets.
The task force plans to report to the Benchers in December 2014. The purpose of that report will be:
- to demonstrate what legal needs exist in our society that the current market place for legal services is unable to address on its own;
- to identify the nature of services that would be required to meet those needs; and
- to examine whether the Law Society ought to seek a legislative amendment to the Legal Profession Act that would permit the Society to regulate legal service providers other than lawyers and to establish the credentialing requirement and regulatory structure for such regulation.
Responses will only be reported to the Benchers in summary form.
For more information about the work of the task force, read about the background and purpose of the surveys.
The deadline to complete the survey is October 31, 2014.
Click here to take the survey for lawyers and other legal service providers (notaries public, community advocates, mediators, arbitrators, etc.)
2014 Law Society Award recipient
[posted September 29, 2014]
The Benchers selected John Hunter, QC as the recipient of the 2014 Law Society Award. Hunter is recognized nationally and internationally as one of Canada's leading counsel and his dedication to service is evident in his exceptional volunteer contributions and pro bono work.
Hunter will be presented with the Law Society Award at the 30th annual Bench and Bar Dinner on November 6, 2014. More information about the Bench & Bar dinner is available here.
Referendum called on Trinity Western University’s proposed law school
[posted September 26, 2014]
[updated September 29 and October 3, 2014]
On September 26, the Benchers passed a motion that directs the Law Society to conduct a referendum of all BC lawyers regarding the proposed law school at Trinity Western University. The motion will allow for all members of the Society to vote on the resolution adopted at the special general meeting this past June, in which the Benchers were directed to declare that the proposed law school at Trinity Western University is not an approved faculty of law for the purpose of the Law Society’s admission program.
The motion further states that the resolution will be binding and will be implemented by the Benchers if at least one third of all members in good standing of the Society vote in the referendum, and two thirds of those participating vote in favour of the resolution.
For more information, read the notice to the profession.
To be counted, ballots must be received at the Law Society office by 5 pm on October 29, 2014. The referendum votes will be counted on October 30; results will be published on the website later that day.
Ballots will be mailed to members by October 8. If you have not received a ballot by October 15, or if you have any questions about the referendum, please email us at email@example.com.
Benchers approve 2015 fees
[posted September 26, 2014]
The Benchers have approved the 2015 practice fee and insurance fee, as recommended by the Finance and Audit Committee. The committee based its recommendation on a thorough review of the Law Society’s financial position, its statutory mandate and strategic plan.
The total annual mandatory fee for practising, insured lawyers for 2015 will be $3,742, a 1.4% increase over 2014. The practice fee will increase by $52 to $1,992 and the insurance assessment will remain the same at $1,750. More information and a detailed breakdown and explanation of the 2015 fee are available here.
Resolution adopted at Special General Meeting
[posted June 10, 2014]
On June 10, 2014, the members of the Law Society passed a resolution at a special general meeting directing the Benchers to declare that the proposed law school at Trinity Western University is not an approved faculty of law for the purposes of the Law Society’s admission program.
The resolution was passed in a 3,210 to 968 vote.
While section 13 of the Legal Profession Act sets out that a resolution at a general meeting is not binding on the Benchers except as provided under that section, Benchers will give this resolution serious and thoughtful consideration.
For background and supporting documents, see Special General Meeting June 10, 2014.