Law Society committees have specialized roles that carry out many of the regulatory functions of the Law Society and assist with policy development.

Committees and task forces are composed of Benchers and lawyers from all over BC, all of whom volunteer their time to the Law Society.

An archive of reference resources produced and compiled by committees and task forces is available at Committee and Task Force Reports.

Committees

The Act and Rules Committee recommends amendments to the Legal Profession Act and Law Society Rules.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Elizabeth Rowbotham, QC (Chair)
Lisa H. Dumbrell
W. Martin Finch, QC
Geoffrey G.R. McDonald

Staff contact

Jeff Hoskins, QC

The Complainants' Review Committees reviews the case files of complainants who are dissatisfied with dismissal of their complaints following a review by Law Society staff, see Law Society Rules 3-13 to 3-14.

Terms of Reference

Committee #1

Heidi Zetzsche (Chair)
Brook J. Greenberg, QC
Puneet Sandhar
Chelsea Wilson
Guangbin Yan

Committee #2

Mark Rushton (Chair)
Lisa R. Feinberg
Jamie Maclaren, QC
Geoffrey G.R. McDonald
Daniele D. Poulin

Staff liaison

Karen Mok

The Credentials Committee is responsible for overseeing the enrolment, education, examination and call to the bar of articled students, the transfer of lawyers to BC and the reinstatement of former lawyers. When the character or fitness of an applicant for admission, readmission or transfer needs to be addressed, the committee considers the application directly or orders a formal credentials hearing. The committee is also responsible for reviewing applications relating to a student's failed standing in PLTC and for considering any matters arising from the articling system. The committee further assists the Benchers in setting credentials policy and ensuring that this policy is adhered to and assists in credentials program planning, evaluation and budget. For more on this committee, see Law Society Rules 2-50 to 2-104.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Pinder K. Cheema, QC  (Chair)
Steven R. McKoen, QC (Vice-Chair)
Kim Carter
Lisa H. Dumbrell
Lisa R. Feinberg
Jamie Maclaren, QC
Geoffrey G.R. McDonald
Mark Rushton
Michael F. Welsh, QC

Staff contact

Lesley Small

Publications

May 2017: Program Review of the National Committee on Acreditation for the Federation of Law Societies

The Discipline Committee reviews complaints about lawyers, former lawyers, visiting lawyers, articled students and practitioners of foreign law and determines whether a disciplinary response is warranted. The committee is composed of lawyer Benchers, Appointed Benchers, and one or more non-Bencher lawyers. When considering the appropriate disposition of a complaint, the Discipline Committee is guided by the Conduct Assessment and Disposition Guidelines. The committee may refer the matter back for further investigation, take no further action on the complaint, send the subject lawyer a conduct letter, require the subject lawyer to attend a conduct meeting or a conduct review, or authorize the issuance of a citation. The Discipline Committee may also refer a matter to the Practice Standards Committee. In addition, the committee determines various applications made under the Rules or referred by the President.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

W. Martin Finch, QC (Chair)
Brook J. Greenberg, QC (Vice-Chair)
Barbara Cromarty, QC
Dr. Jan Lindsay
Iain D. McIver
Philip A. Riddell, QC
Karen L. Snowshoe
Marnie Westbury

Staff contact

Natasha Dookie

The Ethics Committee identifies current professional responsibility issues and makes recommendations on changes to the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia (formerly called the Professional Conduct Handbook) for consideration by the Benchers. The Committee also interprets existing Code rules, gives advice to individual lawyers and publishes opinions to the profession at large on matters of professional responsibility.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Jeevyn Dhaliwal, QC (Chair)
Michael F. Welsh, QC (Vice-Chair)
Mark K. Gervin
Sasha Hobbs
Steven R. McKoen, QC
K. Michael Stephens
Marko Vesely
Kevin B. Westell
Gaynor C. Yeung

Staff contact

Lance Cooke

The Executive Committee consists of the President, the First and Second Vice-Presidents, the Second Vice-President-elect, three other Benchers elected from among the Benchers as a whole and one Appointed Bencher elected from among the Appointed Benchers.

The responsibilities of the Executive Committee include assisting the Benchers and the Executive Director in establishing relative priorities for the assignment of Society financial, staff and volunteer resources and planning Bencher meetings. For more on this committee, see Law Society Rules 1-48 to 1-49.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Dean P.J. Lawton, QC (Chair)
Jeevyn Dhaliwal, QC
Lisa J. Hamilton, QC
Sasha Hobbs
Steven R. McKoen, QC
Christopher A. McPherson, QC
Jacqueline McQueen, QC

Staff contact

Kerryn Holt
Avalon Bourne

The Finance and Audit Committee provides oversight over the financial affairs of the Law Society. The committee provides recommendations on the annual fees, reviews the annual budgets, and periodically reviews the financial and investment results as needed. In addition, the committee oversees the external audit process, recommends the approval of the audited financial statements to the Benchers, and provides oversight over the internal controls and enterprise risk management of the Law Society.

Terms of Reference

Lisa J. Hamilton, QC  (Chair)
Christopher A. McPherson, QC (Vice-Chair)
Jeevyn Dhaliwal, QC
Clifford Proudfoot, QC
Elizabeth Rowbotham, QC
Guangbin Yan

Staff contact

Jeanette McPhee
Andrea Langille

 

The Governance Committee assesses the Law Society’s current governance structure and practices to identify any areas for improvement.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Jeevyn Dhaliwal, QC  (Chair)
Christopher A. McPherson, QC (Vice-Chair)
Pinder K. Cheema, QC
Dr. Jan Lindsay
Linda I. Parsons, QC
Michael F. Welsh, QC
Guangbin Yan

Staff contacts

Kerryn Holt
Avalon Bourne

The Practice Standards Committee reviews information about lawyers who may have competency-related problems and, when appropriate, orders investigations. The committee recommends ways for lawyers with competency problems to become competent, such as through remedial programs, or restricts them from some areas of practice when necessary to protect the public. The committee also approves programs to assist lawyers to practise more competently and maintain their own competence, and assists the Benchers in setting competency-related policy. For more on the committee, see Law Society Rules 3-15 to 3-25.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Jacqueline G. McQueen, QC (Chair)
Chelsea Wilson (Vice-Chair)
Cheryl D'Sa
Nancy G. Merrill, QC
Mark Rushton
Thomas L. Spraggs
Gaynor C. Yeung
Heidi Zetzsche

Staff contact

Karen Mok

The Unauthorized Practice Committee enforces the Legal Profession Act with respect to all aspects of the practice of law by people who are not lawyers and develops policy recommendations for the Benchers in unauthorized practice matters.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Steven R. McKoen, QC (Chair)
Paul Barnett
Kim Carter
Lisa R. Feinberg
Karen L. Snowshoe
Thomas L. Spraggs
Heidi Zetzsche

Staff contact

Gavin Hoekstra

Advisory Committees

The Access to Justice Advisory Committee monitors developments on issues affecting access to legal services, and reports those developments to the Benchers on a semi-annual basis. The committee advises the Benchers annually on priority planning with respect to access to legal services.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Lisa J. Hamilton, QC (Chair)
Paul Barnett
Jennifer Chow, QC
The Honourable Thomas Cromwell
Lisa H. Dumbrell
Mark K. Gervin
Jamie Maclaren, QC
Kevin B. Westell

Staff contact

Doug Munro

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee monitors developments on issues affecting equity and diversity in the legal profession and the justice system. It reports to the Benchers on those developments and assists the Benchers with priority planning.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Jennifer Chow, QC (Chair)
Barbara Cromarty, QC (Vice-Chair)
Paul Barnett
Beatriz Contreras
Cheryl D'Sa
Dr. Jan Lindsay
Linda I. Parsons, QC

Staff contact

Andrea Hilland, QC
Jennifer Chan

Publications

March 2018: Retrospective Analysis of Gender in the Legal Profession in BC (1992-2017)

June 2012: Towards a More Diverse Legal Profession: Better practices, better workplaces, better results

July 2006: Report of the Interpreters Working Group

October 2004: Lawyers with Disabilities: Overcoming Barriers to Equality

April 2000: Addressing Discriminatory Barriers Facing Aboriginal Law Students and Lawyers

The mandate of the Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee is to advise the Benchers on matters relating to the rule of law and lawyer independence so that the Law Society can ensure:

  • its processes and activities preserve and promote the preservation of the rule of law and the independence and effective self-governance of lawyers; and
  • the legal profession and the public are properly informed about the meaning and importance of the rule of law and how a self-governing profession of independent lawyers supports and is a necessary component of the rule of law.

The Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee also monitors issues that affect or might affect the independence of lawyers and the rule of law, and develops means by which the Law Society can effectively respond to those issues.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Elizabeth Rowbotham, QC (Chair)
Jacqueline G. McQueen, QC (Vice-Chair)
Cheryl D'Sa
Jon Festinger, QC
W. Martin Finch, QC
Jamie Maclaren, QC
Christopher A. McPherson, QC
The Honourable Marshall Rothstein, QC
Mark Rushton

Staff contact

Michael Lucas, QC

Publications

Statements on Issues that Affect the Rule of Law

In October 2015, the Benchers recognized the importance of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and urged all lawyers in British Columbia to read the executive summary of the Commission's report.

The Benchers agreed that addressing the findings and recommendations of the report is one of the most critical obligations facing the country and the legal system today. The Law Society continues to work on developing a long-term action plan in collaboration with Indigenous peoples on how best to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action.

In July 2016, the Benchers unanimously endorsed the creation of a permanent Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee.

The Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee provides guidance and advice to the Law Society on legal issues affecting Indigenous people in the province, including those highlighted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and recommendations. The committee monitors and reports to the Benchers on those developments, advises the Benchers on priority planning and develops recommendations and initiatives.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Nicole D. Bresser  (Co-Chair)
Dean P.J. Lawton, QC  (Co-Chair)
W. Martin Finch, QC
Katrina M.L. Harry
Claire Marshall
Michael McDonald, QC
Christopher A. McPherson, QC
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

Staff Contact

Andrea Hilland, QC

Publications

July 2018: Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan

Task Forces and Working Groups

The Anti-Money Laundering Working Group monitors and advises the Benchers on key matters relating to the state of anti-money laundering strategies and initiatives in British Columbia. This advisory function supports the Law Society’s public interest mandate.

Terms of Reference

Dean P.J. Lawton, QC (Chair)
Pinder K. Cheema, QC
Lisa J. Hamilton, QC
Steven R. McKoen, QC
Christopher A. McPherson, QC

Staff contact

Don Avison, QC

In order to ensure that the unique needs of Indigenous peoples are addressed in the Law Society’s regulatory process, the Law Society has established an Indigenous Engagement in Regulatory Matters Task Force to review its rules and procedures. The review is part of the strategic plan and recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan to identify and remove systemic barriers for Indigenous people in the Act, Rules and BC Code.

Terms of reference
Work plan

Pinder Cheema, QC (Co-Chair)
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson (Co-Chair)
Lisa Dumbrell
Leah Fontaine
Brittany Goud
Sasha Hobbs
Thomas Spraggs

Staff contacts

Andrea Hilland, QC
Jennifer Chan

The Lawyer Development Task Force (formerly the Lawyer Education Advisory Committee) monitors developments on issues affecting lawyer education in BC, and reports to the Benchers about those developments on a semi-annual basis. The task force advises the Benchers annually on priority planning with respect to the education of lawyers in BC.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Steven R. McKoen, QC (Chair)
Brook J. Greenberg, QC (Vice-Chair)
Sasha Hobbs
Michelle Lawrence
Caroline Nevin
Karen Orr
Thomas L. Spraggs
Katie Sykes
Rolf Warburton

Staff contacts

Alison Luke

Publications

Lawyer Development Task Force Report on exploring the development of alternatives to articling, September 2020

The Mental Health Task Force was established in January 2018 with a mandate to:

  • identify ways to reduce the stigma of mental health issues; and
  • develop an integrated mental health review concerning regulatory approaches to discipline and admissions.

Terms of reference | Mandate letter

Brook J. Greenberg, QC  (Chair)
Phil Dwyer
The Honourable Madam Justice Nitya Iyer
Derek C. LaCroix, QC
Christopher A. McPherson, QC
Kendra F. Milne
The Honourable Patricia Stark

Staff contact

Michael Lucas, QC
Alison Luke

To contact the task force, email mentalhealth@lsbc.org.