E-Brief: September 2017

Benchers approve 2018 fees

The Benchers have approved the 2018 practice fee and insurance fee, as recommended by the Finance and Audit Committee. The committee based its recommendation on a thorough review of the Law Society's financial position and the operational requirements for 2018. The total annual mandatory fee for practising, insured lawyers for 2018 will be $3,939.72. The practice fee will increase by $14.15 to $2,139.72 and the full-time insurance fee will increase by $50.00 to $1,800. More information and a detailed breakdown and explanation of the 2018 fees are available here.

Benchers adopt vision for lawyers' role in advancing access to justice and legal services

The Benchers have adopted a vision for how lawyers can advance access to justice and legal services. The purpose of the vision is to encourage a culture in which lawyers make their services available to those in need and promote improved access to justice in our society. Read the vision here.

Save the date: Truth and Reconciliation Symposium on November 23

The Law Society of BC, in collaboration with CLEBC, is organizing a Truth and Reconciliation Symposium on November 23 to engage with lawyers about the profession's role in reconciliation and gather feedback on the next steps and priorities for the Law Society's reconciliation efforts. The free event will be eligible for six hours of continuing professional development credits. See the website for details.

Amendments to the Law Society Rules

The Benchers have approved amendments to the Law Society Rules: 1) to require students who enrol in the admission program after January 1, 2018 to take the Practice Management Course, previously called the Small Firm Practice Course; 2) to clarify the rules on reinstatement of former judges from other Canadian jurisdictions seeking to return to practice in BC; and 3) to prohibit lawyers from disclosing their Juricert passwords or permitting another person, including an employee, to use their passwords when using the electronic filing system of the land title office. Click here for highlights of amendments.

Draft rule changes on interviewing and communicating with witnesses

The Ethics Committee is considering changes to BC Code rules 5.3 and 5.4, following recent amendments to the Federation's Model Code of Professional Conduct. The Law Society will be seeking feedback from lawyers who deal with witnesses. Watch for consultation materials to be posted on the Law Society website in early October.

Call for QC nominations

The Office of the Deputy Attorney General is accepting nominations for Queen's Counsel appointments until October 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm. Queen's Counsel appointments recognize BC lawyers for exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession. For more information and the nomination form, see the ministry's website.

Judicial vacancies in BC

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada invites candidates to apply for federal judicial appointment. It is anticipated that a number of vacancies on the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of BC will arise by January 1, 2018. See the website highlight for further information.

Save the date: Retirement dinner for Chief Justice McLachlin

The National Judicial Institute is organizing an event on April 27, 2018 in Vancouver to mark the retirement of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, PC, Chief Justice of Canada. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Scholarships from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies awards three scholarships annually: two Right Honourable Paul Martin Sr. Scholarships for the LL.M. degree at the University of Cambridge and a French Language Scholarship for graduate legal study in the French language at a French speaking university in Europe. For application information and deadlines, visit their website.

From the courts

The Federal Court has issued the following: a Notice to the Profession on the pre-publication of proposed amendments to the Federal Courts Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Protection Rules; a Notice to the Parties and the Profession on the court's scheduling practice for the hearing of applications; and Guidelines for Actions under the Amended PMONOC Regulations. For details, see the court's website.

On September 5, 2017 the Judicial Council of British Columbia launched an online application process for all judicial appointments to the Provincial Court. As of this date, the court will no longer accept paper applications. For more information, see the court's website.

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