Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Application for Enrolment Decision

Applicant 14

Hearing (application for enrolment): July 27 and 28, 2016

Panel: Tony Wilson, Chair, Lois Serwa and Donald Silversides, QC

Decision issued: December 7, 2016 (2016 LSBC 44)

Counsel: Gerald Cuttler for the Law Society; Craig Dennis, QC and Jaclyn Vanstone, articled student, for Applicant 14

BACKGROUND

In June 2015 Applicant 14 submitted an application for enrolment in the Law Society Admission Program. Because that application included disclosure of an allegation of academic misconduct while she had been a student at a university in the US (the “ US Law School” ), the Law Society ordered a credentials hearing.

The allegation of academic misconduct was that, while Applicant 14 was writing an examination at the US Law School, she had continued writing after students had been instructed to stop working. She explained that she had only been entering identification information on the covers of exam booklets. The hearing panel concluded that the academic misconduct itself was technical and minor in nature and did not constitute evidence of present bad character, and that Applicant 14’ s response to the question on the enrolment application therefore does not indicate bad character.

The panel also considered a 2003 civil judgment against Applicant 14 regarding unpaid rent. The panel considered a Moral Character Determination Application Applicant 14 had submitted to a US State Bar in 2012, in which she acknowledged the outstanding debt but denied there was any civil action or civil judgment outstanding against her. Applicant 14 explained to the hearing panel that she had answered as she had because the property owner’ s failure to respond to multiple attempts to contact them indicated the property owner no longer wanted to collect the debt, and she also believed the applicable statute of limitations had elapsed.

The panel found that at the time Applicant 14 completed the Law Society’ s enrolment application, the judgment was not outstanding against her and that her answer to the enrolment application question was therefore not evidence of bad character.

The panel also considered whether Applicant 14’ s responses to questions in the enrolment application about her employment history were accurate and complete. She explained that she had not reported two positions in her employment history because they were unpaid. She had also declared she had never been discharged from any employment. Applicant 14 explained that her employment with a British Columbia law firm had concluded at the end of a fixed-term contract. The panel accepted Applicant 14’ s explanations and found that her failure to include the volunteer positions and the termination of her employment with the law firm as part of her employment history was not evidence of bad character.

DECISION

The panel was satisfied that Applicant 14 was of good character and repute and that she was fit to become a barrister and a solicitor of the Supreme Court. Her application for enrolment as an articled student was granted.

 

2016 LSBC 44 Decision on Application for Enrolment