E-Brief: April 2018

Discipline advisory: Lawyers must protect trust accounts from suspicious or illegal activities

Lawyers have an obligation to ensure that their trust accounts are not being used for suspicious or illegal activities. Improper use of a trust account will result in disciplinary action, even where illegality is not proven. A discipline advisory summarizing a recent decision involving a member who failed to make reasonable inquiries in the face of red flags is available on our website.

Law firm regulation update: Registration of law firms commences in May

The Law Society's law firm regulation initiative is moving forward. At the beginning of May, law firms will be able to access a registration page that has been prepopulated with the firm's name, address(es) and a list of its practising lawyers at the firm. Firms will be asked to confirm or update this information and to name one or more designated representatives to be responsible for liaising with the Law Society. Firms will have 30 days to register. Registration information will be sent in a broadcast email in early May.

Bencher by-election in the County of Vancouver

Madam Justice Matthews' appointment to the Bench has created a vacancy for the position of Bencher in the County of Vancouver. Information on candidates is available on our website. Information on voting electronically will be emailed on April 24, 2018 to each member eligible to vote. Voting will close at 5 pm on May 8, 2018.

The Law Society Award – call for nominations

This year, the Law Society intends to honour an exceptional individual in the legal profession with the Law Society Award. Lawyers are encouraged to nominate a candidate and the deadline for nominations is June 30, 2018. For more information, including how to submit a nomination, download the flyer.

Amendments to the Law Society Rules

The Benchers adopted new rules and substantive rule amendments to implement the regulation of law firms, a new rule to clarify that the responsibilities formally assigned to the executive director may be performed by individuals employed or retained by the Law Society and minor amendments to correct two past errors in reference to the review board. Click here for highlights of amendments.

Mental Health Task Force terms of reference

The Benchers approved the Mental Health Task Force's terms of reference at their April 6 meeting. Information about the task force and its terms of reference are available on our website.

Reminder for BC lawyers who practise in Nunavut

The Law Society of Nunavut has received reports of lawyers engaging in unauthorized practice. Nunavut is not a signatory to the National Mobility Agreement and, instead, abides by the Territorial Mobility Agreement. Lawyers who wish to practise law in Nunavut must either be a member of the Law Society of Nunavut or apply for a Restricted Appearance Certificate, which allows a lawyer to practise in Nunavut on up to three legal matters in one year. Information on how to apply is available on the Law Society of Nunavut's website. Questions may be directed at the Law Society of Nunavut by email or at 867.979.2330.

Courthouse Libraries extend hours in Kamloops, Nanaimo and New Westminster

As of April 3, the opening hours for Courthouse Libraries BC's branches in Kamloops, Nanaimo and New Westminster have been expanded to Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 12 pm and 12:30 pm to 4 pm. For more information, visit the Courthouse Libraries' website.

From the courts

The Provincial Court of BC has issued a Practice Direction to set out the procedure before a subpoena requiring opposing counsel to give evidence. For more information, visit the court's website.

The Federal Court has issued a Notice to the Parties and the Profession on a reduced schedule during summer recess. Visit the court's website for details.

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Send your comments or questions to communications@lsbc.org.