Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the Hearing Panel

James Roger Webber, QC

Kamloops, BC

Called to the bar: May 12, 1967

Written materials: July 28, 2020

Panel: Steven McKoen, QC (Chair), Eric V. Gottardi and Karen Kesteloo

Decision issued: September 3, 2020 (2020 LSBC 42)

Counsel: Ilana Teicher for the Law Society, James Roger Webber, QC appearing on his own behalf

FACTS

James Roger Webber practises via a sole proprietorship law firm registered in his name. He practises primarily in the area of real estate, wills and estates and some civil solicitor’s work and litigation. He failed to pay his government remittances in full and on time in 2017 and 2018. The total amount of arrears was approximately $142,870.30, consisting of $10,870.30 for GST and $132,000 for payroll source deductions.

Webber moved to a new office location in 2017 and had a low volume of business that year. He self-reported in his 2017 trust report that his law firm did not pay GST and payroll source deductions in full and on time due to a cash shortage and that payments would be made current after collecting overdue accounts and completing a large file.

He again self-reported in this 2018 trust report that the law firm did not pay GST and employee payroll source deductions in full and on time. There were insufficient funds in the firm’s general account to meet all financial obligations.

The GST arrears were paid in full as of May 2019. As of June 30, 2020, approximately $98,000 remained outstanding from unremitted payroll source deductions. He acknowledged he was aware of the arrears and that he used the GST and payroll source deductions to pay other financial obligations of his firm.

ADMISSION AND DETERMINATION

Webber admitted his conduct constituted professional misconduct. The panel accepted his admission.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The Law Society and Webber jointly proposed the disciplinary action of a fine of $9,000 and costs of $1,000. In determining the disciplinary action, the panel considered disciplinary sanctions in other cases, Webber’s 50 years of experience practising law and his acknowledgement of the misconduct.

The panel accepted the proposed disciplinary action and ordered that Webber pay:

  • a fine of $9,000, and
  • costs of $1,000.

2020 LSBC 42 Decision of the Hearing Panel