E-Brief: March 2020

Pre-litigation payments and conflict of interest risk

Lawyers who act for plaintiffs in motor vehicle litigation will need to familiarize themselves with the potential for conflicts of interest between their clients and themselves as a result of Part 9 of Bill 11, Attorney General Statutes (Vehicle Insurance) Amendment Act. Part 9 provides that ICBC may offer a pre-litigation payment offer to a person, but only if ICBC is satisfied that the person has not commenced an action against the insured or ICBC respecting the accident, and any pre-litigation payment must not be calculated as part of a contingent fee agreement. Lawyers should ensure that their clients provide informed consent about the pre-litigation scheme before initiating an action on behalf of the client. Further background is available on the website.

Important resources and information regarding COVID-19

As of March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. While the BC Centre for Disease Control continues to assess the risk in BC as low, lawyers are recommended to read information about COVID-19 on the BC Centre for Disease Control website. Anyone considering travel may also wish to consult the Government of Canada’s website for the latest travel advice.

Risk assessment scenarios: money laundering and other crimes

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has published Risk Assessment Case Studies for the Legal Profession (February 2020), a guide for lawyers on how to spot red flags in five areas: misuse of trust accounts; purchase and sale of real estate and other transactions; creation and management of trusts and companies; managing client affairs and making introductions; and disputes and litigation. For other anti-money laundering resources and the Law Society’s client identification and verification rules, refer to the Client ID & Verification web page, including FAQs, and “New client verification and source of money requirements” in the Winter 2019 Benchers’ Bulletin. For questions, contact a practice advisor (practiceadvice@lsbc.org or 604.443.5797).

Law Society responds to changes to ICBC

The Law Society issued a response to the provincial government’s proposal to establish a “no-fault” regime, which will make significant changes to auto insurance in BC that will impact individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents. These changes include eliminating the right of accident victims to apply to the courts for a determination of what is fair compensation for their injuries. The full statement is available on our website.

Law Society provides opening statement to the Cullen Commission

The Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering began its hearings on February 24, with opening statements by several organizations engaged in the fight against money laundering, including the Law Society. The opening statement can be read here. The commission is scheduled to issue an interim report in November 2020, with its final report expected in May 2021.

Deadline extended for Futures Task Force consultation

Have your say on factors and forces that are likely to influence the delivery of legal services, the regulation of the legal profession and legal practice in British Columbia over the next decade. The Futures Task Force consultation has been extended to the end of March. Comments can be provided online. For more information on the consultation, visit our website.

Mark Andrews Excellence in Litigation Award

The Benchers approved the creation of the Mark Andrews Excellence in Litigation Award to recognize outstanding lifetime achievements in litigation. The award will be presented to a candidate of merit as selected by the president of the Law Society and the Chief Justices of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and not more often than once every two years.

Track the progress of Law Society initiatives

In order to improve how the Law Society engages with lawyers and the public, we have launched a new online “Progress of Initiatives” resource that allows users to track policy proposals and the latest rule changes. For up-to-date information on the current status of initiatives, as well as links to reports and background material, visit our website.

Vancouver Airport Authority appointment

The Law Society is seeking expressions of interest for appointment as the Law Society’s nominee to the Vancouver Airport Authority’s Board of Directors. The appointment is for a three-year term from May 2020 to May 2023. Interested lawyers can submit their application and supporting resume online. The deadline for applications is 4 pm, Wednesday, March 25. Further information about the Vancouver Airport Authority and the requirements for the position can be found here.

Tuition tax receipts available

The 2019 T2202As for PLTC are now available for download on the main page of the Member Portal. The T2202A is an official tax receipt that is issued to all students who paid tuition for qualifying PLTC courses in the previous calendar year. It shows the amount of tuition that can be deducted for income tax purposes, as well as the number of months eligible for the education deduction. For more information on filing your income tax return, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Land Title and Survey Authority: service fee increase

Most Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) services fees will increase by two percent as of April 1, 2020. Under the LTSA's operating agreement with the province, the LTSA may increase its service fees annually by the adjusted Consumer Price Index amount. The LTSA uses revenue from fee increases to address the impact of inflation on operations. Read the full announcement here and see current LTSA fees and projected fees here.

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