BC law firm victim of counterfeit cheque scam

September 16, 2008

The Law Society has learned that a BC law firm has fallen victim to a sophisticated counterfeit cheque scam. No clients have been affected by the scheme; however, the firm will suffer a loss.

The scheme was similar to the one described in the July 2008 edition of Practice Watch and an earlier Notice to Profession. The fraudster requested the firm’s help in recovering a debt. The firm issued a demand letter to the "debtor," resulting in payment of nearly the full amount of the demand by certified cheque, made out to the law firm in trust. Assuming the certified cheque was legitimate, the firm transferred the funds to the "client," only to discover later that the cheque was counterfeit.

What can you do you protect yourself? Consult the following Law Society publications for tips and information on counterfeit scams:

How fraudsters use your trust account — counterfeit cheques and bank draft scams, Practice Watch (July 2008)
Counterfeit bank drafts — yet another trust account scam, Notice to Profession (May 2008)

Stay tuned to Practice Watch for further updates.

Invitation to comment on draft civil and family rules

The Honourable Mr. Justice Macaulay issued the following statement to members of the profession regarding the Draft Civil Rules and Draft Family Rules:

The Rules Revision Committee is continuing its review of the proposed new rules for the BC Supreme Court. Current versions of the Draft Civil Rules and the Draft Family Rules are posted on the Committee's website.

Until December 31, 2008 the Committee is inviting comments and submissions on both the Draft Family Rules and the Draft Civil Rules. The current version of the Draft Civil Rules is significantly different from the original Concept Draft Civil Rules released by the Civil Justice Reform Task Force in mid-2007. It does maintain, however, the guiding principles of proportionality and, where the parties cannot agree on case planning, active judicial case management.

The significant policy issues under consideration by the Committee in relation to the Draft Civil Rules include:

  1. Changes to the objects of the rules;
  2. Changes to the form of pleadings;
  3. Whether the parties should be entitled to any "as of right" steps in the proceeding before agreeing on a consent case plan order, or, alternatively, attending a judicial case management conference, and if so, what steps;
  4. The limitations on document discovery;
  5. The use of joint experts; and
  6. How costs might be used to assist in achieving proportionality.

To avoid unnecessary duplication, please be aware that the Committee has already received the many submissions that were forwarded to the Justice Review Task Force, most of which may be viewed at its website.

The Committee has also already received many direct submissions regarding the Draft Civil Rules and very much appreciates the continuing input of the profession and the bench.

Subject to completing our consultation process, the Committee anticipates making final recommendations to the Attorney General early in 2009.

Comments and submissions may be sent via email: info@BCRulesRevisionCommittee.ca

Alternatively, comments and submissions may be sent to:

The Rules Revision Committee
c/o Ms. Jill Leacock, Secretary
The Law Courts, 800 Smithe Street,
Vancouver B.C. V6Z 2E1