E-Brief: March 2021

Lawyers Indemnity Fund coverage expands to include cyber insurance

The Benchers approved adding primary cyber coverage as part of the indemnification program provided by LIF and through underwriter, Coalition Inc., for all law firms LIF indemnifies. The policy takes effect on June 1, 2021 and the cost will be borne by LIF. Coverage will be for third party liability claims, first party losses and cybercrime claims, including the most common cyber risks – ransomware, social engineering fraud and data breaches. Further information may be found here and LIF will add additional details to its website, www.lif.ca, beginning April 1, 2021.

Fraud alert: Random calls and emails inquiring about shelf companies

Recently, BC lawyers have contacted the Law Society to report receiving random phone calls and emails from individuals who ask if they have shelf companies for sale. Fraudsters are always looking to take advantage of disruptive events like this pandemic, and may be attempting to use shelf companies to deceive unsuspecting third parties into believing a company has been operating for a number of years when, in reality, it hasn’t been used since its formation. Be on guard against being used to facilitate dishonesty, crime or fraud. For details, read the fraud alert here.

Changes to qualification to act as a principal to articled students

Recognizing that the Law Society Rules regarding the minimum experience required to act as a principal to an articled student had created a barrier for lawyers who take time away from practice for family matters, the Benchers adopted amendments that extend the period for calculating the minimum practice experience required from 5 out of the previous 6 years to 5 out of the previous 8 years. Highlights of amendments to the Law Society Rules are available here.

Changes to the Law Society Rules on the joint submission process for discipline violations

In an effort to encourage timely and fair resolution of discipline matters, the Benchers approved amendments to the Law Society Rules to enable parties to present a joint submission for a finding of discipline violation and disciplinary action to a hearing panel directly. Highlights of amendments to the Law Society Rules are available here.

Joseph J. Arvay Legacy Fund

To honour the memory of Joseph J. Arvay, OC, OBC, QC, LLD, the University of Victoria’s faculty of law has created a legacy fund in his name. The fund aims to support and inspire a new generation of law students to follow in his footsteps as a visionary public interest law advocate. Visit this link for further information on Joe Arvay and an opportunity to donate to his legacy fund.

Lawyer wellness resources from Continuing Legal Education of BC

CLEBC recognizes the importance of lawyer well-being and is providing a series of wellness-related webinars (over 7 hours of CPD) and online articles and resources at no cost to help lawyers through this difficult time. See CLEBC’s lawyer wellness resources here. Additional resources are available at the Lawyers Assistance Program of BC.

Land Title and Survey Authority service fees increase

Most LTSA service fees will increase by one percent as of April 1, 2021. LTSA uses revenue from fee increases to address the impact of inflation on operations. Read the announcement here and see current LTSA fees and projected fees as of April 1, 2021 here.

FAQs on speculation and vacancy tax

The Ministry of Finance has published some frequently asked questions about the speculation and vacancy tax for legal professionals, located on their website.

From the courts

The Supreme Court of BC has issued family practice directions FPD 16 - Return Applications under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction - Procedural Requirements and FPD 17 – Divorce Applications, and updated the following resources to reflect amendments to the Divorce Act: Supreme Court Family Order Picklist; Litigants’ Guide to Judicial Case Conferences; and Judicial Case Conference Case Management Form.

ICYMI: Video message on mental health from President Dean Lawton, QC

As we emerge from the darkest months of the year, you may be finding that nearly one year of living under provincial health emergency orders and restrictions is starting to wear you down. In case you missed it, the Law Society published a video featuring President Dean Lawton, QC who notes that if you feel this way, you’re not alone – and he encourages us to check in with each other, be aware of all of the different resources and support that Lawyers Assistance Program and LifeWorks offer, or you may reach out to a Law Society practice advisor or Bencher. It helps to talk.

ICYMI: new Rule of Law Matters episode on authoritarianism, closer to home

Click here to find the latest episode of the Rule of Law Matters podcast, in which the Honourable Irwin Cotler talks about the attack on the US Capitol, the October Crisis of 1970, China’s detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and the risk of foreign influences infiltrating governments here at home.

From LIF

Don’t miss the limitation period for CRT Part 7 claims – earliest limitation is April 1, 2021

The BC Supreme Court in Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia v. British Columbia (Attorney General) declared unconstitutional the CRT’s purported exclusive jurisdiction to resolve “minor injury claims” and specialized expertise to resolve damage claims at $50,000 or less. However, the CRT still has exclusive jurisdiction to determine entitlement to Part 7 benefit claims for motor vehicle accidents on and after April 1, 2019. The earliest limitation for these claims is April 1, 2021, and there is no suspension of limitation periods for CRT claims. Note that the limitation period for Part 7 claims is suspended indefinitely if you provide written notice to ICBC in compliance with s. 103 of the Insurance Vehicle Regulation, as long as ICBC has not issued a written response.

LIF’s new digital annual report

ICYMI: Take a few minutes to learn how your indemnity program is performing after 50 years, in LIF’s new digital annual report. In a brief video on page 2, Chief Operating Officer, Su Forbes, QC, shares the program changes and highlights from 2020.

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