E-Brief: November 2023

Single legal regulator legislation now expected in 2024

Proposed legislation providing for the licensing of lawyers, notaries public and paralegals under the authority of a single legal regulator is now expected to be tabled by the BC government in spring 2024. More information can be found here

Annual fee due November 30, 2023

Lawyers are reminded that their annual membership expires on December 31, 2023 and the due date for their 2024 annual fee is November 30, 2023. Outstanding invoices can be found under “Invoices and receipts” in the Member Portal. Payment received after November 30 is subject to a late payment fee. If you need to change your membership category or indemnity coverage, submit the appropriate application as soon as possible. Please visit our annual fee webpage or contact the Registration & Licensee Services department at registration@lsbc.org or 604-605-5311 if you need assistance.

2023 Bencher Elections: Voting is open

Online voting for the 2023 Bencher elections is now open. Members in good standing are eligible to vote until 5 pm on Tuesday, November 14. Voting instructions have been sent to members on the voting lists for Vancouver, Victoria, Westminster, Okanagan, Cariboo, Prince Rupert and Kamloops districts. Votes will be counted on Wednesday, November 15. For further information and to view candidates’ biographies and election statements, visit the Bencher election page.

Recommendations to amend return to practice rules approved by Benchers

Recommendations to amend the return to practice rules were unanimously approved by the Benchers at the November 3 meeting. The changes aim to better balance the purpose of the return to practice requirements and the disproportionate impact on lawyers taking time away from practice, including for parental and health leaves, as well as lawyers who wish to pursue other opportunities outside of a traditional legal practice for a period of time. The rule amendments will be drafted and approved by Benchers at a future meeting.

2023 Law Society Indigenous Scholarship co-recipients

Congratulations to the 2023 Law Society Indigenous Scholarship co-recipients, Bailie Copeland and Tara-Lynn Wilson. Copeland and Wilson are both 2024 Juris Doctor candidates at Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law. Read their biographies and learn more about the Law Society Indigenous Scholarship here.

From left: Brook Greenberg, KC, Second Vice-President; Bailie Copeland; Tara-Lynn Wilson; and Don Avison, KC, Executive Director and CEO.

Tribunal announces adjudicator appointments

The Law Society Tribunal is pleased to announce the appointment of 11 new adjudicators following an extensive selection process. Congratulations to this group of exceptional professionals, who will join the Tribunal effective January 1, 2024.

  • Alykhan Alladina, Public Representative, Burnaby
  • Gregory Cran, Public Representative, Lund
  • Robert Deane, Lawyer, Vancouver
  • Susan Kootnekoff, Lawyer, Kelowna
  • Harindar Mahil, Public Representative, Coquitlam
  • Julie Mantini, Lawyer, Richmond
  • Diane McRae, Public Representative, Hazelton
  • Erwin Nest, Public Representative, Vancouver
  • Sean Rowell, Lawyer, Smithers
  • Jason Twa, Lawyer, Coquitlam
  • Robert Wickett, KC, Lawyer, Vancouver

Law Society Tribunal to expand adjudicator per diem

At the November 3 meeting, Law Society Benchers approved a change to expand per diem payments to include lawyer adjudicators and introduce compensation for decision writing, as well as raise the existing per diem rate. This adjustment seeks to ensure the dedication and availability of Tribunal members in fulfilling their responsibilities. The changes will come into effect on January 1, 2024.

Temporary injunction order extension obtained by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada

The temporary injunction order obtained by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada in conjunction with a petition challenging the constitutionality of amended mandatory reporting obligations under the Income Tax Act has been extended to December 1, 2023. A decision on the injunction application is expected to be released on or before December 1, 2023. For more information, please visit the Federation’s website.

Have your say: Supreme Court website redesign

The Supreme Court of Canada is asking for feedback from the legal community to improve their website. Take this short survey to have your say on how the Supreme Court can communicate more effectively and modernize the way information is provided. The deadline to submit responses is November 17, 2023. Questions or comments can be sent to communications@scc-csc.ca.

Pratice support and resources

Coming soon: Guidance on professional responsibility and generative AI

A new practice resource on lawyer’s professional responsibility and the use of generative AI will be available later this month. This practice resource will provide information that can help in your consideration of professional responsibility issues when using generative AI tools in your legal practice. Stay tuned to the Practice Resources page for more information.

Practice direction amendments

Effective October 17, 2023, Chief Justice Hinkson has amended the following three practice directions:

An announcement regarding these revisions has been posted on the Court’s website.

BC government warns of new scam targeting law firms

The BC government is advising the legal community of a new scam involving the impersonation of government lawyers and staff. The alleged impersonations have targeted law firms and other service providers through their “Contact Us” forms. The scams include offers of litigation instructional videos purportedly prepared by a government lawyer and/or offers to help with debt assistance. If you or your firm receives a similar communication claiming to be from a government lawyer or other employee, please email LSBSecurity@gov.bc.ca.

Employers now required to publish salary range expectations in job ads

As part of the Pay Transparency Act, BC employers are required to specify the expected salary or wage for any publicly advertised job opportunity starting November 1, 2023. Originally passed in May of this year, this legislation puts responsibility on employers to address systemic discrimination in the workplace, specifically in the areas of pay transparency and the gender pay gap. Details on the act and how this applies to your firm can be found here.

Current opportunities

2024 Law Society committees and task forces

The Law Society is seeking expressions of interest from individuals who wish to be considered for appointment to the Law Society’s 2024 Committees and Task Forces for a one-year term starting January 1, 2024. To apply, please review information about each of the Law Society’s committees and task forces and submit an application form and supporting resume online, along with an explanation of why you’re interested in the opportunity. The deadline for applications is 5 pm, November 20, 2023.

Board vacancies

The Law Society is currently seeking expressions of interest from individuals who would like to be considered as a Law Society of BC appointee to the Vancouver Airport Authority Board of Directors and/or the Law Foundation of BC Board of Governors. Further information on the appointments can be found here. The deadline for applications for both appointments is 5 pm, November 15, 2023. To apply, submit an application form and supporting resume online specifying why you would be a good candidate for the position to which you are applying.

News from Lawyers Indemnity Fund

Reminder: New deadlines for trial briefs and trial management conferences

Effective September 1, 2023, amendments to the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Family Rules include:

  • new deadlines for trial briefs and trial management conferences (see table);
  • requirement for an email address for service, if available (see SCR 4-1 and SCFR 6-1);
  • new trial brief forms for civil and family matters;
  • fewer circumstances where trial management conferences are mandatory; and
  • a new judicial case conference option for family law cases (see SCFR (Rule 7.1-1 to 7.1-3)).

Review our table for a summary of the key amendments. This should not be a substitute for reading the legislation.

Reminder: New T3 filings required by March 2024 for trusts

Are you holding funds in a separate trust account for a client, perhaps as security for a builder’s lien, from an estate or trust distribution, or from the sale of real estate? Did you know that you will now need to file a T3 income tax return, unless exempt, for that trust account by the end of March 2024? New rules in the federal Income Tax Act (ITA) will require T3 returns to be filed for many types of trusts for taxation years ending on or after December 31, 2023. Multiple T3 returns may need to be filed by a single law firm, and each can take considerable time to prepare. Read our previous Notice to Lawyers to learn more about the changes and exemptions.

Third party proceedings: Getting it right

Third party claims have caused confusion and stress for a number of BC lawyers. Because of changes to both the rules and the limitation period to commence a third party proceeding, there has been an increase in claims reported by lawyers. Determine early in the litigation what third parties should be added and add them immediately to avoid a limitation issue.

In the three-minute video below, Director of Claims, Leanne Wood, summarizes the rules and law with respect to third party claims.

For the latest updates from LIF, follow us on Twitter @Lifbc.