Problems experienced with the 2018 annual general meeting highlighted the need to modernize our general meeting rules and procedure.

The first attempt to hold the AGM in October had to be adjourned after a failure of the online voting platform during voting on a resolution to appoint an auditor. When the meeting resumed in December, it required 4½ hours to conclude the business of voting on four member resolutions, as well as amendments, amendments to amendments, and points of order from the floor. A number of those who attended in remote locations expressed difficulty following the proceedings. Several who attended online lost their connection to the server and some were unable to log in. The length of the meeting and other factors meant that some had to abandon the meeting before they could vote.

In light of these problems, the Benchers asked the Governance Committee to consider possible reforms to general meeting rules. The last comprehensive review of the rules occurred well before the emergence of electronic and internet technology, and so they are due for reconsideration.

The Governance Committee recommended changes (outlined below) that are aimed at enhancing the ability to vote, retaining the ability to make effective members resolutions, and reduce the time needed to hold the meeting. On May 3, the Benchers approved the recommendations and authorized a referendum to be held on the proposed changes.

The proposed changes would provide for:

  1. submission and publication of member resolutions prior to a general meeting, similar to the current process,
  2. amendments to member resolutions prior to a general meeting, but not during the meeting,
  3. advance online voting on member resolutions and amendments, and
  4. procedure at a general meeting, not otherwise provided for in the Rules, would not be determined by Robert's Rules of Order but by the Chair.

The rules can only be amended in accordance with an affirmative vote of 2/3 of the voting members in the referendum.


Referendum FAQs

There will be two referendum questions. The first will ask members to authorize the Benchers to amend the Law Society Rules to provide for advance online voting at general meetings, as proposed. The second will ask members to authorize the Benchers to amend Law Society Rule 1-13(13) to provide that a question about general meeting procedure will not be resolved by reference to Robert’s Rules of Order but by the Chair at the meeting.

Members in good standing as of May 8, 2019 are eligible to vote in the referendum.

If you are eligible to vote in the referendum, you will receive an email with a link to the voting website, voting instructions and voter credentials. Alternatively, you can log in to the Member Portal to view your voter credentials and click through to the voting site from there.

Once on the voting site, you will need to enter your Law Society Member ID as your username and the unique password sent to you. Your Member ID is printed on the Law Society membership card.

Voting in the referendum will open on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 and close at 5:00 pm (PST) on Thursday, May 30, 2019. The votes will be counted and announced on the Law Society website on May 31, 2019.

An affirmative vote of 2/3 of the voting members is required to give the Benchers the authority to amend the general meeting rules. If the referendum is successful, the Benchers will amend the rules to provide for discussion, amendment and voting on all resolutions prior to the live meeting. See General Meeting Reform FAQs for further information on the suggested amendments and the implications.

If an affirmative vote of 2/3 of the voting members is not achieved, the Benchers will not have the authority to amend the general meeting rules to provide for advance online voting. Resolutions will continue to be received in advance, and all amendments, discussion and voting will take place at the live meeting. Members will not be able to vote in advance online and will need to be present at the meeting, either online or in person, in order to vote.

General meeting reform FAQs

The proposed changes will provide for the submission and publication of member resolutions prior to a general meeting and include a period of time for amendments or the withdrawal of member resolutions to be made.

Online voting on resolutions in advance of the general meeting will be permitted, but there will be no online voting at the live meeting. It will still be possible to vote in-person at one of the meeting locations.

Procedure at a general meeting, not otherwise provided for in the Rules, would not be determined by Robert’s Rules of Order but by the Chair.

Members who choose not to vote online will be able to attend the meeting at one of the meeting locations and vote in person.

No. Any amendments to member resolutions must be submitted during the amendment/withdrawal period before online voting opens.

No. Due to the experience with the 2018 AGM it is not expected that online voting at the general meeting will be available. Online voting can only be done in advance and not on the day of or during the live meeting.

The aim is to implement the proposed new changes to the general meeting format in time for the 2019 Annual General Meeting.