E-Brief: October 2016 

Benchers approve 2017 fees

The Benchers have approved the 2017 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 and the operational requirements for 2017. The total annual mandatory fee for practising, insured lawyers for 2017 will be $3,875.57. The practice fee will increase by $68.48 to $2,125.57 and the insurance assessment will remain the same at $1,750. For more information and a detailed breakdown and explanation of the 2017 fees, read the Notice to the Profession.

Annual General Meeting this Friday, October 14

The Law Society's 2016 annual general meeting will be held on Friday, October 14. Registration starts at 11:30 am and the meeting begins at 12:30 pm. Business of the meeting includes the election of the 2017 second vice-president, appointment of Law Society auditors, an overview of 2017 fees and the approval of electronic voting at future general meetings. For details about the agenda and a list of conference locations, see the Notice to the Profession.

Vancouver Bencher by-election: Nomination deadline and electronic voting

The Law Society is accepting nominations of candidates for the by-election to elect two Benchers in the County of Vancouver (District No. 1) for a one-year term to begin January 1, 2017. Nominations will be accepted until 5 pm on Friday, October 14.

To increase accessibility and participation by members, the Law Society is offering, for the first time, electronic voting for the upcoming Bencher by-election in Vancouver County. Members will have the option of voting either electronically using a secure online voting platform or by mail-in paper ballots.

For more information, see the Notice to the Profession or download the nomination form.

Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee establishes mandate

At their September meeting, the Benchers approved the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee. The committee will provide 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. For details on the advisory committee, visit our website.

2016 Law Society Award recipient

The Benchers have selected Constance D. Isherwood, QC as the recipient of the 2016 Law Society Award. Mrs. Isherwood is the first woman recipient of the award. She has served as a role model and mentor for young women lawyers since her call to the bar 65 years ago. She will be presented with the Law Society Award at the 32nd annual Bench and Bar Dinner on November 17, 2016. To read more about Mrs. Isherwood's achievements, visit the website.

Benchers create new family law legacy award

The Benchers agreed unanimously to create a legacy award to recognize family law lawyers who do outstanding work in improving access to justice for families. The award encourages innovation in this underserved area of legal practice and highlights the importance of family law from an access to justice perspective. The details of the award will be released at a later date.

Amendments to the Code of Professional Conduct for BC

The "limited representation" rules regarding pro bono services have been rescinded and replaced with a set of "short-term summary legal services" rules, similar to those in the Federation of Law Societies' model code. For a highlight of amendments, see the website.

Expanded Part C coverage for Lawyers Insurance Fund

The Benchers have approved the expansion of the Part C trust shortage liability coverage for "bad cheque" scams to include trust shortfalls arising from other social engineering frauds, effective January 1, 2017. The coverage carries a limit of $500,000 per claim, subject to a 35 per cent member deductible. Full details will be provided in the new year. Firms are urged to consult with an insurance broker about protection from claims that are not covered by the policy, including those resulting from cyber crimes and employee theft.

Selection of Federation Council representative

The Benchers have selected Herman Van Ommen, QC as the Federation Council member to represent the Law Society of BC effective November 15, 2016.

2016 Secondary school essay contest

The Law Society is inviting BC secondary school students to submit an essay addressing a topic related to the rule of law. For contest details on this year's topic and eligibility, see the website highlight.

Prepare for the new Franchises Act

The Franchises Act comes into force February 1, 2017. This complex new legislation introduces significant changes to franchise law in British Columbia, including extensive disclosure requirements, enhanced rescission remedies and new deadlines and limitations. If you provide any advice or services in the area of franchise law, taking a legal education course on the new law is strongly recommended.

BC government launches search system for commissioners for taking affidavits

The provincial government has recently created a website that allows a search of individuals who have been appointed commissioners under section 56 of the Evidence Act. It provides the names of the individuals appointed, their position, the companies with which they are affiliated and restrictions that have been placed on their appointments. Lawyers may use the website to ascertain whether someone is appointed as a commissioner and to ensure the commissioner is acting within his or her authority in connection with any particular document.

CRA ceases issuing of notices of requirements or compliance orders

The Law Society has received confirmation that Canada Revenue Agency will not be issuing requirements or compliance orders to lawyers or notaries for information related to their clients where that information is held in their capacity as a legal advisor. For details, read the website highlight.

Cancellation of discriminatory covenants on land titles

Section 222 of the Land Title Act makes a registered covenant that, directly or indirectly, restricts the sale, ownership, occupation or use of land on account of a person's sex, race, creed, colour, nationality, ancestry or place of origin, void and unenforceable. However, some discriminatory covenants remain on land titles. The BC Land Title and Survey Authority has issued Practice Note 01-15, which describes how an owner may bring a void discriminating covenant to the Registrar of Land Titles' attention and sets out what action the Registrar may take to update land title records. There is no fee. For more information, see the Practice Note.

From the courts

The BC Supreme Court has issued a Notice to the Profession on changes to the booking practices for civil and family trials in Vancouver and New Westminster, effective October 2016. For more information, visit the court's website.

The Federal Court has issued a Notice to the Parties and the Profession on experimental testing. For a full list of notices, visit the court website.


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