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Our latest news highlights:
- Law Society sets date for consideration of proposed Trinity Western University law school
- Court of Appeal consultation on mandatory e-filing
- Law Society seeks input as Benchers consider proposed Trinity Western University law school
- Firms advised to be aware of malware threat
- Trust Administration Fee (TAF) to increase to $15 due to decreasing trust administration revenue
- Accreditation of family law ADR professionals
Law Society sets date for consideration of proposed Trinity Western University law school
[posted February 28, 2014]
Following an open invitation for input from lawyers and the public, a notice of motion was tabled today indicating that the Benchers of the Law Society of BC will consider a resolution regarding the proposed Faculty of Law at Trinity Western University.
The notice of motion follows on the preliminary approval of TWU’s proposed law school by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and the authorization of TWU to grant law degrees by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education. The Law Society’s Rules provide that the Benchers have the final say in whether any faculty of law is an approved faculty of law for the purpose of meeting the academic qualification requirement of the Law Society’s admission process.
“The sole intention in giving notice of the motion to be tabled at our April 11 meeting is to provide the Benchers with the opportunity to consider thoroughly, carefully and in a manner that is fair, whether to exercise their discretion under Rule 2-27(4.1), in the public interest,” said President Jan Lindsay, QC. “The notice of motion will also provide interested parties, particularly Trinity Western University, with a clear indication that the Benchers will be considering the exercise of their discretion under the Rule at the April 11 meeting. The motion will be made without expressing any opinion as to its merits, in order that the matter may be properly considered by the Benchers.”
In order to respect the numerous calls for an open and transparent process, the April 11 meeting will be webcast to enable those who wish to see and hear the meeting to do so without having to be physically present. This will permit a much larger number of people to watch and listen than could be reasonably accommodated at our physical premises.
The Benchers continue to invite written submissions from anyone wanting to provide input or information to assist the Benchers with their decision. The deadline for submissions is March 3, 2014. Submissions may be sent by email to email@example.com or by mail to The Law Society of BC – Attention: Executive Director, 845 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 4Z9. Submissions will be made available to TWU and may also be made available on our website.
Read the notice of motion.
Court of Appeal consultation on mandatory e-filing
[posted February 5, 2014]
The Court of Appeal is seeking input from the profession, the public and filing agents on a proposal to require mandatory e-filing of civil and criminal factums and criminal statements by January, 2016. E-filing of factums will not be required for self-represented litigants.
The changes to the filing procedure and the requirements are outlined in the consultation paper on the court’s website. Comments may be submitted to FactumConsultation@courts.gov.bc.ca by April 30, 2014. Any comments received may be used anonymously in a public report.
Law Society seeks input as Benchers consider proposed Trinity Western University law school
[posted January 24, 2014]
In the interests of transparency and openness, the Benchers of the Law Society of BC are inviting input from lawyers and the general public as they consider a new law school at Trinity Western University (TWU).
In December 2013, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada announced the Canadian Common Law Program Approval Committee had completed its work and decided to grant TWU preliminary approval of its proposed law school program. Shortly thereafter, the BC Ministry of Advanced Education authorized TWU the right to grant law degrees.
The Law Society’s rules provide that the Benchers have the final say in whether any faculty of law is an approved faculty of law for the purpose of meeting the academic qualification requirement of the Law Society’s admission process. At their January 24, 2014 meeting, the Benchers agreed on the process for considering the application, stressing it requires procedural fairness.
“The Benchers take very seriously their obligation to ensure that any decision regarding a new law school at TWU is done with the utmost attention to openness and fairness,” said President Jan Lindsay, QC, “To safeguard the process, the Benchers are committed to a process that is thorough, thoughtful and fair, and they will take the time necessary to properly review and reflect before any decision is made.”
Recognizing the process and decisions by the Federation and the BC government have generated both concern and support, the Benchers invite written submissions from anyone wanting to provide input or information to assist the Benchers with their decision. Submissions may be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to The Law Society of BC – Attention: Executive Director, 845 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 4Z9. Submissions must be received before March 3, 2014 and will be made available to TWU and may be made publicly available.
For information about the Federation’s preliminary approval, please refer to the materials provided by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
Firms advised to be aware of malware threat
[posted December 13, 2013]
Two BC law firms hit to date with Cryptolocker ransomware
Law Society practice advisors have learned recently of BC law firms that have fallen prey to a devastating computer virus called Cryptolocker ransomware. Known as malware, Cryptolocker is typically installed on a computer by opening an infected email attachment, watching an infected video file or plugging an infected USB flash drive into your computer. Emails appear to be from legitimate sources, such as government, banks, delivery companies such as FedEx, major corporations or even friends whose email addresses have been "spoofed."
Cryptolocker encrypts files and can lock up an entire computer network. It may also source passwords and credit card numbers. It then demands a ransom to unlock the system. Of the two firms that were hit in BC, one paid the ransom and recovered its files. The other firm did not pay the ransom, but was able to recover its accounting data that had been stored in a .zip file that was not encrypted by the malware.
For more information on how to protect against Cryptolocker and other computer threats, read the Practice Resource: Cryptolocker Ransomware Alert.
Trust Administration Fee (TAF) to increase to $15 due to decreasing trust administration revenue
[posted September 27, 2013]
The Trust Administration Fee (TAF) was implemented in 2005 and funds the Law Society Trust Assurance Program. According to Rule 2-72.2, “The trust administration fee is generated by each client matter undertaken by the lawyer in connection with which the lawyer receives any money in trust, not including fees and retainers”.
There are a number of types of client matters to which TAF applies but real estate transactions comprise a large share of the TAF transactions. TAF revenue has steadily decreased from 2005 and has generally followed the trend line of BC real estate unit sales.
Specifically, TAF revenue has decreased from $3.0 million in 2005 to $2.1 million in 2012, a decrease of 30%, and BC real estate unit sales have decreased 36% over the same time period. With the decreased TAF revenue, the Trust Assurance Program incurred a deficit in 2012, and is expected to incur a deficit in 2013.
Accordingly, the Benchers have voted in favour of increasing the fee from $10 to $15 per transaction, effective January 1, 2014. This is the first increase in the fee since its introduction in 2005.
Further information will be communicated in the coming weeks.
Accreditation of family law ADR professionals
[posted June 27, 2013]
[updated January 15, 2014]
The government of BC is urging the use of alternate dispute resolution professionals to diffuse the adversarial nature of family law matters and have more of them resolved out of court. Under the new Family Law Act, the Law Society has been given the authority to oversee the accreditation of lawyers who wish to act as family law mediators, family law arbitrators and/or parenting coordinators.
As of January 1, 2014, lawyers must complete the applicable hours of training in a course of study and register their training with the Law Society. Specifically, all dispute resolution professionals are required to have, as a minimum, the following:
- 14 hours of approved training in family violence, which must include skills for identifying, evaluating and managing family violence and issues of power dynamics in particular relation to the dispute resolution process;
- depending on their specific role, up to 10 years of related experience and 40 or more hours of mediation, arbitration and/or parenting coordinating training;
- sufficient training in family law.
For more information, see Family law alternate dispute resolution accreditation.