E-Brief: June 2023

BC government responds to Law Society request for authority to license paralegals

The BC government has declined the Law Society’s request to bring amendments to the Legal Profession Act into force that would allow for the licensing of paralegals, however remains committed to creating a single legal regulator, which will provide for it. Attorney General Niki Sharma, KC said the ministry supports the licensing of paralegals and anticipates the single legal regulator initiative project will lead to a bill being introduced as early as this coming fall. It is expected the bill will provide for the licensing of lawyers, notaries public and licensed paralegals under one entity. Visit our website for more details.

In the news: The public interest and a single legal regulator

In June’s edition of BarTalk, Law Society President Christopher McPherson, KC shared his thoughts on how a single legal regulator may benefit the public. In the article, he discusses ways to increase access to justice, and other considerations including maintaining lawyer independence and creating a competence-based approach to licensing. You can read the full article here.

Register now for the Mental Health Forum on June 23

Improving mental health for legal professionals in BC is a key priority for the Law Society. This year, in partnership with the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, we will be hosting a two-part virtual Mental Health Forum on June 23 and October 3, 2023 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. Register now for the first event.

Reminder: Indigenous Intercultural Course

The Law Society’s Indigenous Intercultural Course helps BC lawyers increase their Indigenous cultural awareness and understanding. The online course must be completed by January 1, 2024 by all lawyers who were practising as of January 1, 2022. Lawyers who began or returned to practice after January 1, 2022 have two years to complete the course from the date they commenced or returned to practice. To learn more, read the FAQs.

Recognizing National Indigenous History Month

In Canada, June is recognized as National Indigenous History Month. It is a time to honour and celebrate the history, diversity and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. It is also an opportunity to pursue reconciliation and remember the strength and resilience of Indigenous cultures throughout Canadian history. Throughout this month, the Law Society will be sharing resources, events, books, movies and more to help members of the profession and the public celebrate Indigenous culture. Learn more here.

Launch of LC-O1 Indigenous recruitment process

Justice Canada is seeking applications from Indigenous candidates for Law Management (LC-01) positions within the Department of Justice. The goal of this process is to fill and staff LC-01 positions with various tenures and language requirements, as they become available across the Department within Canada. Indigenous lawyers both within and outside of the federal public service are welcome to apply via the application page found here. The closing date for this process is June 23, 2023.

Law Society Tribunal seeking hearing panel and review board applicants

Join the LSBC Tribunal in shaping the future of the legal profession. The Law Society Tribunal is seeking lawyers and non-lawyers to serve on hearing panels and review boards. Hearing panel members preside over cases involving allegations of discipline violations and incompetence by lawyers. They also contribute to the assessment of character and fitness for aspiring lawyers. Tribunal review boards play a crucial role by hearing appeals from hearing panel decisions, ensuring fairness and justice. For detailed appointment criteria, visit the Tribunal’s website. To apply, contact Tribunalchair@lsbc.org.

Continuing Legal Education Society of BC appointment

The Law Society is seeking expressions of interest from practicing lawyers in Vancouver County who wish to be considered for a three-year term as a Law Society appointee to the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC’s Board of Directors. Further information about this opportunity, including appointment criteria, can be found here. For more information about the appointments process and requirements for each board position, see our Appointments Guidebook. The deadline for applications is 5 pm, Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

Articling offers by downtown Vancouver firms to stay open until August 18

All offers of articling positions made in 2023 by law firms with offices in downtown Vancouver must remain open until 8 am on Friday, August 18, 2023. Downtown Vancouver is defined as the area in the city of Vancouver west of Carrall Street and north of False Creek. Set by the Credentials Committee under Rule 2-58, the deadline applies to offers made to both first- and second-year law students. The deadline does not affect offers made to third-year law students or offers of summer positions (temporary articles). For more information, read the web highlight.

Annual General Meeting: Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The Second Notice of the Annual General Meeting was sent out on Friday, June 9 and contained the business of the meeting, along with information regarding advance voting on resolutions and registration for the virtual meeting. Further information about the AGM is available on our website.

King’s Counsel nominations

The King’s Counsel nomination process is taking place from now until July 14, 2023. This designation recognizes lawyers throughout BC who have demonstrated exceptional merit and contributions to the legal profession and their legal practice, as well as professional integrity and good character. Candidates must also have been a member of the BC bar for a minimum of five years. For more information about the nomination process and to access the nomination form, visit the BC Government’s website.

Latest discipline news

Looking for news on discipline outcomes, conduct review summaries and admitted discipline violations? Head to the Disciplinary Outcomes section on our website to stay updated on the latest information. Tribunal information, including hearing dates and outcomes, can be found on the LSBC Tribunal website.

Law Society 2022 Annual Report and Financial Statements now available

The Law Society's Annual Report and 2022 audited financial statements are now available. These documents are a critical part of our regulatory transparency, informing the public, profession, government and the media about how we are meeting our strategic priorities.

Updates to the Law Society website and E-Brief

The Law Society will be updating the homepage of www.lawsociety.bc.ca this summer to improve the user experience, make key content easier to find and enhance the look and functionality. The E-Brief newsletter is also getting a design makeover after we received valuable feedback from the profession. You can still count on the E-Brief to provide key information on regulatory updates, news on changes to acts and rules and information that’s relevant to the profession.

From Lawyer's Indemnity Fund

Amendments to Family Law Act: Excluded property, pensions and pets

Significant amendments to the Family Law Act by the Family Law Amendment Act  (also known as Bill 17) in a number of areas include:

(3) If property is excluded from family property under subsection (1), the exclusion applies despite any transfer of legal or beneficial ownership of the property from a spouse to the other spouse

(see also s.81.1 (Clause 3 of B17) and s.96(b)(ii) to (iii) (Clause 6 of B17) with respect to presumptions and factors affecting division of excluded property);

Review the entire B17 to learn more about these significant amendments.

In case you missed it

Common drafting errors in commercial leases: The high cost of making small mistakes

Corporate/commercial claims account for the most dollars LIF pays out annually. These practice areas also gave rise to the largest pay out in the fund’s history: $11 million. Commercial leasing, which is part of the corporate/commercial area of practice, accounts for significant payments from the fund each year. Take three minutes to watch this video of Claims Counsel Surindar Nijjar to learn about the most common mistakes lawyers make in commercial leasing and easy ways to avoid them. For the latest updates from LIF, follow us on Twitter @Lifbc.