Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

 

Citation issued: October 30, 2018

Christopher James Wilson

Citations are authorized by the Law Society of BC's Discipline Committee and list allegations against a lawyer that will be considered at a discipline hearing. Please note that allegations in a citation are unproven until a discipline hearing panel has determined their validity.

Nature of conduct to be inquired into:

1.  On or between approximately March 1, 2015 and August 30, 2018, you gave a non-lawyer one or more blank trust cheques, including one or more of the following, contrary to one or more of Rule 10-4 of the Law Society Rules, rules 3.5-2 and 6.1-3 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, and your fiduciary duty owed to your clients:

(a)  [Bank 1] trust account cheque [number], marked "VOID" and containing your signature;

(b)  [Bank 2] trust account cheque [number], marked "VOID" and containing your signature;

(c)  [Bank 3] trust account cheque [number], marked "VOID" and containing your signature;

(d)  [Bank 4] trust account cheque [number], marked "VOID" and containing your signature;

(e)  [Bank 4] trust cheque [number], marked "VOID" and containing your signature; and/or

(f)  [Bank 5] trust cheque [number], left blank other than containing your signature.

 This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

2.  Between approximately August 2016 and November 2016, you improperly permitted your law firm staff to withdraw or failed to properly supervise such staff in withdrawing trust funds from your [Bank 6] trust account [number] in approximately 177 instances by way of cheques, in circumstances where you were personally responsible for ensuring that the cheques were signed by a practising lawyer, contrary to one or more of Rules 3-54(3) and 3-64(5) of the Law Society Rules and rule 6.1-3 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, and your fiduciary duty owed to your clients.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

3.  In relation to one or more of the following client files, you failed to comply with Part 3, Division 11 of the Law Society Rules (the "Rules"):

(a)  On client file no. [number] (Estate of SA), you failed to take reasonable steps to verify the identity of the client or you failed to obtain and retain a copy of every document used to verify the client’s identity, or both, contrary to Rules 3-102, 3-105, and 3-107;

(b)  On client file no. [number] (CA), you failed to take all required steps to verify the identity of the client, who was not present in Canada, through an agreement or arrangement in writing with an agent or you failed to obtain and retain a copy of every document and/or attestation used to verify the client’s identity, or both contrary to Rules 3-104, 3-105, and 3-107;

(c)  On client file no. [number] (NM and CI), you failed to take all required steps to verify the identity of the clients, who were not present in Canada, through an agreement or arrangement in writing with an agent or you failed to obtain and retain a copy of every document and/or attestation used to verify each client’s identity, contrary to Rules 3-104, 3-105, and 3-107;

(d)  On client file no. [number] (DC and KO), you failed to take reasonable steps to verify the identity of the clients or you failed to obtain and retain a copy of every document used to verify each client’s identity, or both, contrary to Rules 3-100, 3-102, 3-105, and 3-107;

(e)  On client file no. [number] (EM), you failed to take reasonable steps to verify the identity of the client or you failed to obtain and retain a copy of every document used to verify the client’s identity, or both, contrary to Rules 3-100, 3-102, 3-105, and 3-107;

(f)  On client file no. [number] (WC and LH), you failed to take all required steps to verify the identity of the clients, who were present elsewhere in Canada, through an agreement or arrangement in writing with an agent or you failed to obtain and retain a copy of every document and/or attestation used to verify each client’s identity, or both contrary to Rules 3-104, 3-105, and 3-107

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct or a breach of the Act or rules, pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.

4.  Between approximately March 2015 and November 2016, you either failed to ensure the security of your Juricert password or disclosed your password to your law firm staff and caused or permitted such staff to affix your digital signature on electronic instruments contrary to one or more of rules 6.1-3 and 6.1-5 of the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, the terms and conditions of your Juricert registration and subscription, and s. 168.9 of the Land Title Act.

This conduct constitutes professional misconduct, pursuant to s. 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.