E-Brief: February 2017

E-Brief: February 2017 

Call for by-election nominations

A Bencher by-election in the County of Kootenay (District No. 5) has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Nominations of candidates for election must be received by the Law Society by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. The term of the Bencher elected will begin immediately on election and will end on December 31, 2017. The vacancy was created when then Bencher Lynal Doerksen was appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia. Law Society Rule 1-38 requires the Benchers to hold a by-election to fill a vacancy promptly. Download the nomination form. Read the Notice to the Profession.

Amendments to the Law Society Rules

The Benchers have approved amendments to the Law Society Rules: 1) Members must provide the Law Society with their email address, telephone number, street address and mailing address of their place of practice (if different from their street address); and 2) when charged with an offence under a federal or provincial statute or an equivalent offence in another jurisdiction, lawyers, articled students, practitioners of foreign law and applicants must immediately provide written notice of the charge to the Law Society. For highlights of amendments, visit the Law Society website.

Equity Ombudsperson program to be moved in-house

At their January 27 meeting, Benchers accepted the recommendation of the Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee that the Equity Ombudsperson program be brought in-house within the Law Society's Practice Advice department. The advisory committee's review of the program concluded that, among other advantages, bringing the program in-house would reduce administrative inefficiencies, decrease the isolation of the ombudsperson, enhance accountability and improve tracking and reporting. Calls to the in-house ombudsperson will remain strictly confidential, protected by the same measures that safeguard the confidentiality of calls to the Practice Advice department.

Fraud alert: phony email payment instructions targeting clients in the US

The Law Society has learned of a new scam in the US in which phony email payment instructions are sent directly to client purchasers in real estate transactions by fraudsters pretending to be their lawyer. For more information, read this report from the Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company in North Carolina.

From the courts

The Court Services Branch of the Ministry of Justice facilitates the service of Family Law Act protection orders when the respondent is not present in court, unless otherwise ordered by the court. The Request for Service form is required to be completed by the applicant, either when filing the application for a protection order or after the protection order has been granted. The form is available on the Court Services Branch website under "Provincial Family" and "Supreme Family."

A Notice to Parties and the Profession (Access to Digital Audio Recordings of Federal Court of Appeal Proceedings) was issued on December 21, 2016 by the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal. The notice has been published on the website of the Federal Court of Appeal.

An amended Notice to the Profession (Assignment Court Lists, originally issued March 23, 2015) was issued on January 20, 2017 by the Provincial Court of BC. Effective January 20, 2017, the start time of the afternoon Assignment Court lists in Abbotsford, Surrey, Port Coquitlam, 222 Main Street, Robson Square, Victoria and Kelowna is 1:45 pm. Court hours and any changes to court hours can be found on the Provincial Court website.

The Court of Appeal of BC has announced that beginning February 14, 2017, it will cease emailing reserve judgments to the parties after their release at 9:30 am. Instead, the judgments will be available on the internet at or before 10:00 am under the "Judgments" section of the Court of Appeal website on the day of release. As a consequence of this change, "Release of Court of Appeal Reserve Reasons for Judgment by E-Mail"(Civil & Criminal Practice Note, 19 September 2011) will be repealed effective February 14, 2017. This change will not affect oral judgments, copies of which may continue to be requested where necessary in accordance with the process outlined in the court's Record and Courtroom Access Policy at sections 1.11.5 - 1.11.6.


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