E-Brief: October 2019

2020 practice and insurance fees

The Benchers have approved the 2020 practice fee and insurance fee, as recommended by the Finance and Audit Committee. The total annual fee for full-time practising, insured lawyers for 2020 will be $4,089.12. The practice fee is set at $2,289.12, an increase of $28.95 (1.3%) over 2019. The full-time insurance fee is unchanged from $1,800. More information on the 2019 fees is available here.

2020 annual fee and first instalment of insurance due November 30

Lawyers will be able to access and download their 2020 annual fee billing invoice later in October through the Member Portal. Lawyers who intend to change membership or insurance status for 2020 should complete and submit the applicable status change form as soon as possible in order for a revised invoice to reflect the change. The annual fee covering the period January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 and the first instalment of insurance covering the period January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 is due on November 30, 2019. For more information, read the website highlight.

Overview of 2019 Annual General Meeting

The Law Society's Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. President Nancy Merrill, QC reported on Bencher proceedings since the last AGM, PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed as auditor, and Lisa Hamilton, QC has been acclaimed as second vice-president for 2020. For the president's remarks, see the website highlight.

Fiduciary property rule amendment

The Benchers approved a rule change which will mean that lawyers may no longer hold fiduciary property in trust accounts. Fiduciary property is defined as “funds, other than trust funds, for which a lawyer is responsible in a representative capacity or as a trustee, if the lawyer’s appointment is derived from a solicitor-client relationship.” The change comes following consultation with lawyers who deal regularly with fiduciary property, and reinforces that trust accounts are only for funds directly related to the provision of legal services.

Law Society recognition awards – new deadline and broadened eligibility criteria

Four awards recognizing exceptional contributions to the profession and public will be handed out in a ceremony on December 6: the Excellence in Family Law Award, the Award for Leadership in Legal Aid, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award and the newly established Pro Bono Award. The eligibility criteria for all four Law Society awards have been broadened to include all current and former members of the Law Society, and to allow an award to be given posthumously. The deadline for nominations has been extended and will now close on Friday, October 18, 2019. For more information about each of these awards, visit our website.

Nominations open for Bencher election

The next election of Benchers in all districts for two-year terms from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021 will commence on November 1, 2019. The votes will be counted on November 15, 2019. Nominations are open until 5 pm on Tuesday, October 15. To learn more about nomination details, the election process, or to view videos of current Benchers explaining the role of Benchers and what to expect, visit the Law Society website.

Lawyers needed for fee mediation program

The Law Society’s fee mediation program is a free, informal service to help lawyers and clients resolve fee disputes quickly without going to court. We are seeking lawyers to join a roster of qualified mediators for the program. Compensation is currently $400 plus reasonable expenses. For more information on the program, visit the website. If you have questions or would like to join the roster of mediators, contact Lynne Knights at lknights@lsbc.org.

Limitations and deadlines quick reference list

The limitations and deadlines quick reference list has been updated. It was created when a lawyer who missed the 10-day appeal period under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (believing it was 30 days) suggested to the Lawyers Insurance Fund (LIF) that they post notice of really short deadlines on the website, and LIF took that suggestion to heart. The list is provided for reference only and should not replace regular review of the relevant legislation.

Lawyers should be aware of Washington’s 90-day service rule and Alberta’s “drop dead” rule

Unless lawyers are confident in their knowledge of a jurisdiction's specific laws, consider declining the retainer. For example, in Washington, a plaintiff must both file and serve a claim within the applicable limitation period. However, if a plaintiff files a claim less than 90 days before the expiry of the limitation period, the plaintiff has 90 days, from the date of filing, to serve the claim. In Alberta, a “drop dead” rule requires applicants to significantly advance an action within three years, or risk the action being dismissed. Examples from Lawyers Insurance Fund’s claim files are available here.

Reminder from the Land Title and Survey Authority on evidence in support of applications

Lawyers who deal with changing name on title and transmission to surviving joint tenant (fee simple) should be aware of specific requirements that the Land Title and Survey Authority has for supporting documentation submitted to the Land Title Office, via front counter, mail or the electronic filing system. For details, see the LTSA website.

From the courts

The Provincial Court has updated the following practice directions on criminal caseflow management rules, elections under section 536 of the Criminal Code of Canada and hearing of bail applications. For more information, visit the court’s website.


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