E-Brief: August 2021

Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

In recognition of National Truth and Reconciliation Day, the Law Society will close for the day on Thursday, September 30. Announced earlier this year, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a new federal statutory holiday to recognize and reflect on the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools. The Provincial Court has announced that all registries throughout the province will be closed on this day, and the provincial government has also advised that public sector employers should formally recognize September 30 this year, in alignment with the federal government.

Indigenous Engagement in Regulatory Matters Task Force

In order to ensure that the unique needs of Indigenous peoples are addressed in the Law Society’s regulatory process, the Law Society has established an Indigenous Engagement in Regulatory Matters Task Force to review its rules and procedures. The review is part of the Law Society’s strategic plan and recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan to identify and address any systemic barriers for Indigenous people in the Act, Rules and BC Code. The members of the task force are: Pinder Cheema, QC (co-chair), Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson (co-chair), L target="_blank"isa Dumbrell, Leah Fontaine, Brittany Goud, Sasha Hobbs and Thomas Spraggs. The task force will engage the Law Society’s Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee in the development of the mandate and terms of reference for the review.

2021 Mental Health Forum on Tuesday, September 14

The Law Society and the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC invite you to the 2021 Mental Health Forum for Legal Professionals, to hear and share practical strategies as to how practitioners, firms and other legal employers can actively work toward improving mental health within the profession. The event will take place via webinar on Tuesday, September 14 from 9 am to 12 pm and will feature speakers with lived experiences, from firms and employers of various sizes, as well as experts who provide wellness support and resources to lawyers. Registration is open here and the agenda is available here.

Nominations now open for five Law Society awards

The Law Society is inviting nominations and applications for five awards recognizing excellence in the legal profession: the Excellence in Family Law Award; the Award for Leadership in Legal Aid; the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award; the Pro Bono Award; and the Mark Andrews Excellence in Litigation Award. The deadline for submitting nominations or applications is 5 pm on October 4, 2021. The awards will be presented to recipients at the Law Society’s Recognition Dinner taking place on Friday, December 3, 2021. For criteria and nomination instructions, visit our website.

Bencher election nominations opening soon

Nominations will open soon for the next election of Benchers in all districts for two-year terms from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023. To learn more about the duties and responsibilities of Benchers, or to view videos of past and current Benchers explaining the role of Benchers and what to expect, visit the Law Society website.

Law firms’ proposals authorized as innovation sandbox pilots

The Law Society has authorized a number of proposals from law firms and individuals who are not lawyers, including for the provision of employment law and human resources consulting services by an individual employed by the law firms and to provide limited and legal services to the public. The Law Society has also approved in principle a proposal from Access Pro Bono for a virtual public interest legal clinic that would train and support new law school graduates in developing public interest law practices to provide affordable legal services to underserved communities. All pilots will be monitored by the Law Society through regular reporting and service providers must comply with “no-action” letters that set out conditions under which they must operate. For more information about approved proposals and how to submit a proposal, visit the Innovation Sandbox page on the Law Society’s website.

Discipline advisory: Rule 10-4 reports

Lawyers are required to take reasonable security measures to protect their records against the risk of loss, destruction and unauthorized access, use or disclosure, as per Rule 10-4. If you have lost custody or control of any of your records for any reason, you must immediately notify the Law Society in writing of all relevant circumstances. Read the discipline advisory to find out more.

Reminder: Retirement of PDF forms for land title applications on September 12

PDF versions of the following land title applications will retire on September 12: Form A Freehold Transfer, Form B Mortgage, Form C Release and Form C Charge. Once retired, Web Filing forms will be required for submissions in myLTSA. PDF versions will only be accepted if they were executed or e-signed before September 12, 2021. New functionality continues to be introduced to Web Filing to further increase accuracy and efficiency in the myLTSA submission process. Customers can now validate a package, add a Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR) reference, and view status directly in Web Filing. For more information and to view how-to videos, visit the LTSA website or its help page.

From the courts

Effective August 25, 2021, further to an order of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), people attending courthouses in British Columbia are required to wear a face mask, including in entrances, lobbies, waiting areas, registries, hallways, stairways, restrooms and elevators. See the PHO order for exemptions.

All Provincial Court registries throughout the province will be closed on September 30, 2021 in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. A Notice to the Profession and Public has also been issued on rescheduling of matters presently set for September 30, 2021.

From Lawyers Indemnity Fund

SCC addresses when limitation periods begin to run

A heads-up to plaintiffs’ litigation counsel: The SCC recently held that limitation periods begin to run when the plaintiff knows, or ought to know, the material facts upon which a “plausible inference of liability” on the defendant’s part can be drawn. Don’t delay filing your NOCC because you are waiting for further information. The SCC held that plaintiffs do not need to have knowledge of every element of a cause of action before the time to file an action is triggered. In addition, the court held that a plaintiff does not need to know the exact type of harm it has suffered, nor the precise cause of its injury, in order for a limitation period to start running. Remember, you can always amend your pleadings, but you can’t fix a missed limitation period. Read more here.

If you delete an LTO web form by mistake ...

... you have recourse. If you inadvertently delete an LTO web form, consider if it is appropriate to request an exception from the LTO to let you file the executed paper original by submitting an exception letter. The exception is contained in E-filing Directions published by the LTO. Read the exception directions on page 19 and review the precedent letter at page 20. Also consider contacting the LTO to see how you can best resolve the issue to avoid problems with completion and undertakings.

Transferring a file?

Read your transfer memo again and “sterilize”! Find out how a lawyer was found liable for defaming her client as a result of file transfer correspondence she sent to another lawyer by reading the decision found here.

In case you missed it: Change in payment instructions scam – BC firm targeted

About to pay out trust funds? STOP! Recently, an Okanagan firm just narrowly escaped paying funds from an estate distribution to a fraudster posing as their client and changing payment instructions in an email to a US account. Before paying out, verify that new or changed instructions by email are legitimate through direct phone (using the number on your client file) or in-person contact with your client. This is a condition of your new cyber coverage. Also, we strongly recommend that you review the tips found here with all staff. If you suspect that you have been the victim of a cybercrime, immediately follow the reporting instructions on the LIF website. Even if you have escaped a loss, report as the fraudster may still be lurking in your system waiting for the next opportunity.


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