E-brief: February 2018

E-brief: February 2018

Benchers establish Mental Health Task Force

The Benchers have established a Mental Health Task Force to address the issue of mental health in the legal profession, one of the priorities in our current strategic plan. The task force will look at ways to reduce the stigma of mental health issues and how best to deal with mental health issues in the context of our discipline and admissions processes.

Benchers establish Alternate Legal Service Provider Working Group

The Benchers have established an Alternate Legal Service Provider Working Group to consider the scope of practice and qualifications for future alternate legal service providers, as well as the scope of services alternate legal service providers may provide. The Law Society has been seeking amendments to the Legal Profession Act to permit the regulation of new classes of legal service providers and the working group will be developing a regulatory framework for alternate service providers so as to be ready when the amendments are made.

Law firm regulation update

Over the past year, the Law Society has been communicating with the profession about how proactive law firm regulation will give you the tools to improve practice management, so you can focus on the practice of law. Law firm regulation is moving forward, with the next steps being firm registration and a pilot project that are anticipated for later this year. The objective of the pilot project is to evaluate the functionality and accessibility of a self-assessment form that will ask participating law firms to assess themselves on several key aspects of law firm management and process. The overall objective of law firm regulation is to assist law firms and their lawyers to manage their practices better, as well as minimize and manage known risks that lead to client dissatisfaction. Further details about firm registration and the pilot project will be available in the March edition of the Benchers' Bulletin.

Call for input – proposed amendments to anti-money laundering model rules

The Law Society is seeking input from lawyers on a number of proposed amendments to the Model Rules of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada regarding anti-money laundering. The consultation materials can be found here.

Discipline advisory: Client ID and verification

In order to reduce the risk of lawyers facilitating dishonest or illegal activity, the Law Society Rules require specific client identification and verification procedures to be followed when providing legal services. In recent months, the Discipline Committee has ordered lawyers to attend conduct reviews and conduct meetings to address breaches. A discipline advisory providing guidance to the profession is available on our website.

Video recordings of Truth and Reconciliation Symposium available online

The Continuing Legal Education Society of BC has posted video recordings of the Law Society’s Truth and Reconciliation Symposium on its website. Click here to view the videos.

Tax law for purchasers of private managed forest land

BC Assessment would like to alert lawyers who represent purchasers of private managed forest land to two consequences of the purchase: purchasers may be responsible for paying taxes on timber previously harvested by the vendor, and purchasers may be responsible for paying exit fees to the Managed Forest Council if the property is removed from managed forest class. More information on managed forest land classification and assessment is available BC Assessment’s website.

From the courts

The BC Supreme Court has posted a corrected version of Practice Direction 50 on Masters’ Jurisdiction. A correction was made to paragraph 4 as the previous version of the practice direction had an incorrect paragraph reference. For more information, visit the court’s website.