|For immediate release||April 30, 2012|
Legal Profession Act amended to provide much needed updates to Law Society’s regulatory framework
Vancouver – The provincial government has tabled for first reading Bill 40, the Legal Profession Amendment Act, 2012.
The Act was passed in 1998 and since that time, regulatory best practices have changed. If passed, the bill will have the effect of modernizing the Act and providing the Law Society with the appropriate powers to regulate the legal profession in the public interest.
“The Law Society is pleased that we will soon be able to operate with up-to-date legislation that will allow us to more effectively regulate the legal profession and protect the public,” said Bruce LeRose, QC, president of the Law Society.
The amendments to the Act feature many improvements designed to protect the public, such as the following:
- An updated mandate that strengthens the commitment of the Law Society to the protection of the public interest in the administration of justice.
- Decisions of Law Society hearing panels will be subject to review by a board which will include people who are not lawyers.
- Where it is in the public interest, the Law Society will have the authority to suspend a lawyer under investigation or impose conditions on the lawyer’s practice.
- Maximum fines for lawyers will be increased significantly to be more in line with those of other professional bodies and to act as a greater deterrent.
- The Law Society will have the ability to require persons to answer questions and produce records in the course of an investigation into a lawyer’s conduct.
- The Law Society will be able to suspend or disbar lawyers convicted of serious crimes, including those committed outside Canada, without a full hearing.
- The elected board of governors, not all lawyers, will set the annual fees paid by lawyers to fund the Law Society.
For more information, please see the Ministry of Justice news release.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
For further information or to arrange an interview contact: