Law Society announces legal action to challenge Legal Professions Act

The Law Society of British Columbia has announced plans to initiate litigation to challenge the constitutionality of Bill 21 – the Legal Professions Act, which received Royal Assent on May 16, 2024.

The Act, which creates a single regulator for lawyers, notaries and paralegals, fails to ensure the independence of the legal professions and their regulator — a fundamental democratic principle.

The new Act replaces the former Legal Profession Act, under which the Law Society’s statutory mandate was to protect the public interest in the administration of justice by preserving and protecting the rights and freedoms of all persons. Unnecessary government direction and intrusion on the legal profession threatens those rights and freedoms.

After the Bill was tabled on April 10, the Law Society, Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch, Trial Lawyers Association of BC and other stakeholders strongly urged the government to reconsider proceeding with the passage of the Bill in order to consult more widely with the public and the legal professions.

Despite all opposition parties voicing strong concerns that the Act threatens the independence of the legal profession, the BC government chose to limit further debate by invoking closure and adopting the flawed legislation.

“Not only did government fail to permit full and transparent consultation, they also closed debate on Bill 21 in a manner that suggests they never intended to permit a full and open discussion on the implications of seismic changes that we view as contrary to the public interest,” said Law Society President Jeevyn Dhaliwal, KC.

Read more: Background, timeline and previous statements

Media contact:
Christine Tam
Director, Communications & Engagement
Law Society of BC