2008 Annual General Meeting of The Law Society of British Columbia

August 27, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Audioconference locations (click here for addresses): Abbotsford • Castlegar • Dawson Creek • Kamloops • Kelowna • Nanaimo • Prince George • Prince Rupert • Victoria

Registration and lunch: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm (11:45 am - 12:30 pm outside Vancouver)

Call to order: 12:30 pm

BC lawyers and articled students are invited to the annual general meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia, which will be held on Tuesday, September 23, 2008. The main location is in Vancouver, with the meeting linked to nine audioconference locations in Abbotsford, Castlegar, Dawson Creek, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Prince Rupert and Victoria.

Please register on arrival and obtain your voting card. Only members of the Law Society of BC are eligible to vote and you may be asked for identification. 

Please remember to bring your copy of the Law Society's 2007 annual report or, if you have registered to receive Law Society publications by email, the 2007 financial statements.

Resolutions
Resolution 1: Appointment of Law Society auditors, submitted by the Audit Committee

BE IT RESOLVED that PricewaterhouseCoopers be appointed as the Law Society auditors for 2009.

Resolution 2: 2009 Practice fee, submitted by the Benchers

WHEREAS: 

  1. the Benchers have determined that the amount of $1,323.04 per practising lawyer is required to maintain and operate the programs of the Law Society and to otherwise discharge its statutory mandate during the year 2009; and

  2. the Benchers have determined that it is appropriate to advance the interests of the Law Society by paying per practising lawyer the amounts to the organizations indicated below:
  The Federation of Law Societies of Canada
The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
Pro bono contribution
BC Courthouse Library Society
Lawyers Assistance Program
The Advocate
$17.00
$30.74
$13.22
$166.00
$56.00
$27.50
 

BE IT RESOLVED THAT, for the practice year commencing January 1, 2009, the practice fee be set at $1,633.50 pursuant to s. 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act.

Overview of 2009 fees

The Benchers are recommending an increase of $79.50 in the annual practice fee for 2009, primarily to cover market-based salary adjustments and some increased costs for external programs funded by the Law Society. The overall increase in the annual practice fee is 5.1 per cent over 2008. This increase provides for a balanced General Fund budget with no use of reserve. The Benchers have also approved a $200 reduction in the Special Compensation Fund assessment and no change in the Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment. The result is that the total fees paid by members will decrease by 3.6 per cent for insured members and 6.3 per cent for members who do not pay for insurance. Copies of the Bencher Presentation on fees and associated budgets for each Fund are available on the Society website (PDF: 350 KB).

 

Annual practice fee

$1,633.50

Special Compensation Fund Assessment

$150.00

Insurance Fund Assessment

$1,400.00

Total

$3,183.50

2008 fees

$3,304.00

Decrease (3.6%)

($120.50)

Practice fee

The Benchers recommend a practice fee to the members based on an extensive review and consideration of the Law Society's finances by the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee met with Chief Executive Officer Tim McGee and the senior staff to review the proposed 2009 fees and budgets for the General Fund, the Lawyers Insurance Fund and the Special Compensation Fund. The Finance Committee also reviewed the budgets and finances of the BC Courthouse Library Society, the Lawyers Assistance Program and the Advocate.

Based on these meetings and reviews, the Finance Committee makes recommendations to the Benchers regarding the fees for each of the funds. These recommendations are reviewed by the Executive Committee and are considered by the Benchers at their July meeting before recommending the fees. The overall objective of the practice fee recommendation is to ensure that operations of the Law Society's General Fund and supported organizations are appropriately funded and enable the Law Society to efficiently and effectively fulfill its statutory mandate.

Law Society Operations

Revenue projections for 2009 are based on an average practising membership of 10,100, a 1.5 per cent increase over the 2008 projected membership. Law Society practising membership has increased more than expected in recent years, largely due to a greater number of lawyers transferring from other Canadian jurisdictions.

Overall General Fund expenses are expected to increase by 5.3 per cent in 2009. Approximately 80 per cent of this increase is due to market-based salary adjustments and provision for salary adjustments required under the collective agreement with the Professional Employees Association representing the lawyers employed by the Law Society.

In addition to market-based salary adjustments, the budgeted changes for the Law Society operations are:

  • Bencher Governance increases modestly to provide for work required by task forces to be established by the Benchers in 2009 and 125th anniversary activities.

  • Slight increase in Corporate Services expenses for various human resource-related costs.

  • Credentials and Practice expenses increase only slightly as salary adjustments are offset by decreases in course development costs. With the new continuing professional development (CPD) program being developed during 2008 and an effective date of January 1, 2009, additional member service resources have been added to implement and monitor the CPD program.

  • Executive Support expenses increase for telephone and internet access. To improve service and enhance reliability for electronic filing services, the web services will be moved offsite. Offsetting these increases is a budgeted reduction in publication and government relations costs.

  • Policy and Legal Services expenses increase slightly for unauthorized practice investigation costs.

  • Regulation expenses increase due to additional professional conduct resources to improve the timely resolution of complaints from the public.

Trust administration fee revenue for 2009 is expected to increase 1.5 per cent over 2008. Overall expenses for the trust administration program are budgeted to decrease slightly as the needs of the Trust Assurance Program are finalized.

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada provides a national voice for provincial and territorial law societies on important national and international issues such as anti-money laundering legislation and inter-provincial mobility. Most recently, the Federation has been instrumental in coordinating the response to the Competition Bureau's report on self-regulating professions. All law societies will contribute $17 per member for 2009, a $2 increase over 2008.

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)

CanLII is a not-for-profit organization initiated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Its goal is to make primary sources of Canadian law accessible for free on the internet. All provincial and territorial law societies have committed to provide funding to CanLII. The Law Society's contribution of $30.74 per member for 2009 is a $1 increase over 2008.

Pro bono funding

The Law Society supports pro bono programs throughout the province with a contribution to the Law Foundation of BC of one per cent of the General Fund portion of the annual practice fee. The Law Foundation distributes the money to organizations offering pro bono legal services to the public.

BC Courthouse Library Society (BCCLS)

The society provides legal information services to the profession and the public online and through 30 branch libraries. With the increasing cost of legal information resources, the BCCLS is implementing some efficiency initiatives to reduce costs. This has allowed the BCCLS to hold the increase to 4 per cent for 2009, the first increase since 2006. The Law Society's contribution to the funding of the BC Courthouse Library Society in 2008 is $166 per member, an increase of $6 over 2008.

Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP)

Funding for LAP increases $3 to $56 per member for 2009. This is the first increase in LAP funding since 2006. LAP provides confidential outreach, education, support and referrals to lawyers and other members of the legal community. 

Advocate subscription

The subscription cost for the Advocate, distributed bi-monthly to all BC lawyers, is $27.50, unchanged from 2008.

Special Compensation Fund assessment

The Benchers have reduced the Special Compensation Fund assessment to $150 for 2009, a reduction of $200 from 2008. The decrease is largely due to the final resolution of many of the Wirick claims and the confirmation of recoveries from the estate in bankruptcy of Tarsem Singh Gill, combined with the management of new defalcation claims under the Part B coverage since 2004. It is expected that the Special Compensation Fund assessment will be even lower for 2010.

Lawyers Insurance Fund assessment

Based on the stable incidence of insurance reports, effective claims management and the financial strength of the Lawyers Insurance Fund, the insurance assessment will remain at $1,400 for a third successive year.

Total Fee Comparison with other Law Societies

For more information

If you have any questions about the proposed fees or the financial information in this notice, please contact Jeanette McPhee, Chief Financial Officer, by telephone at (604) 443-5712 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300) or email jmcphee@lsbc.org.



Resolution 3: Member resolution on civil justice reform, signed by Carlos Brito of Surrey, and by Rosemary Pawliuk of Surrey.

The Law Society's Rules permit any two members in good standing to submit a resolution for consideration at the Annual General Meeting.  The resolution set out below was also signed by an additional 179 members and will, if passed, be considered by the Benchers in responding further to the Task Force regarding the draft Rules of Court.

Member Resolution:

We, the undersigned members in good standing of the Law Society of British Columbia, propose the following resolution to be presented at and voted upon at the 2008 Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of British Columbia:

WHEREAS:

  1. In 2002 the Law Society of British Columbia established the Justice Review Task Force (JRTF);
  2. In 2004 the JRTF created the Civil Justice Review Working Group (CJRWG);
  3. The JRTF and CJRWG were assigned the task of identifying ideas and initiatives for reform of the civil justice processes in British Columbia to make the civil justice system more responsive, accessible and cost-effective;
  4. In November 2006 the CJRWG presented a Report to the JRTF entitled "Effective and Affordable Civil Justice" setting out proposals for reform but without setting out draft rules;
  5. In July 2007 the CJRWG presented draft new rules of civil procedure for the Rules of Court of the Supreme Court of British Columbia and since then has prepared numerous additional drafts of proposed new rules and published online a March 2008 version entitled "Concept Draft of the Proposed New Rules of Procedure of the British Columbia Supreme Court" (the Concept Drafts); and
  6.  The proposals made by the JRTF and CJRWG:

    1. Fail to recognize and respect the public interest in securing the speedy, inexpensive and just determination of every civil dispute on its merits and the appropriate roles of parties, legal counsel and judges in the civil justice system; and
    2. Add to cost, cause delay and render the litigation process less responsive;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Law Society of British Columbia:

  1.  Disapproves of the CJRWG Report and the JRTF Concept Drafts;

  2. Calls for a study and report to be prepared with full public consultation concerning genuine, incremental improvements in the civil justice system; and
  3. Calls on the Government of British Columbia to take all steps within its power to reduce the cost of litigation and ensure more access to justice by:

    1. Eliminating the tax on legal services;
    2. Eliminating charges for jury fees;
    3. Reducing the high cost of filing and hearing fees;
    4. Rendering efficient and timely service to the legal community so as to enhance their delivery of legal services to the public; and
    5. Ensuring proper funding for courts, courthouse facilities, legal library and research facilities and legal aid.

       


Message from the Benchers regarding the Member Resolution:

 

The Benchers wish to ensure that members are aware of the Law Society's responses regarding the work to date of the Justice Review Task Force and the Civil Justice Reform Working Group, and of the Task Force's recent extension of the period for consultation on the draft Rules of Court until December 31, 2008. The Benchers believe that opportunities remain for interested parties, including the Law Society, to work with the Task Force during this period to address their concerns without the necessity of abandoning the work to date and starting over.

In 2002 the Law Society was instrumental in establishing the Justice Review Task Force to identify ideas and initiatives to address concerns about access to civil justice in British Columbia. The Benchers remain concerned that cost, complexity and delay inhibit access to the courts by citizens of this province for resolution of their civil disputes.

In November 2006 the Civil Justice Reform Working Group of the British Columbia Justice Review Task Force published Effective and Affordable Civil Justice, a plan for improving access to justice in BC and for revising the Rules of Court to address these challenges. In its May 2007 response to the Report (PDF: 48 KB), the Law Society agreed with the overall objectives identified by the Working Group and made some suggestions for implementation of efficiencies that would improve access to the civil courts.

Draft revisions to the Rules of Court have now been released for consultation. The Law Society provided its initial comments in a June 2008 letter to the Justice Review Task Force (PDF: 40 KB). The Law Society reiterated its support for the overall objectives of the reform process, but expressed some concerns as to whether the proposed revisions would in fact reduce cost, complexity and delay in the civil justice process.

The Task Force has extended its consultation period to December 31, 2008. The Law Society welcomes this extension and the willingness of the Task Force to continue to receive and consider input from stakeholders. The mandate of the Law Society is to uphold and protect the public interest in the administration of justice in this province. The Law Society intends to continue to discuss the proposed rule changes with the Task Force during the consultation period in a constructive effort to assist in improving access to civil justice for the citizens of British Columbia.

 

 

Annual General Meeting locations

Please RSVP to the email address beside the location you plan to attend. If sending an RSVP for others in your office as well, please note the number in your email.

City Location RSVP by email to:
Vancouver

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6

vancouver@lsbc.org
Abbotsford Best Western Regency Inn Conference Center
32110 Marshall Road
Abbotsford, BCV2T 1A1
abbotsford@lsbc.org
Castlegar Fireside Inn Castlegar
1810 8th Avenue
Castlegar, BC V1N 2Y2
castlegar@lsbc.org
Dawson Creek Crown Counsel
1201 103rd Avenue, 4th Floor
Dawson Creek, BC V1G 4J2
dawson_creek@lsbc.org
Kamloops The Coast Canadian Inn
339 St. Paul Street
Kamloops, BC V2C 2J5
kamloops@lsbc.org
Kelowna The Coast Capri Hotel
1171 Harvey Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1Y 6E8
kelowna@lsbc.org
Nanaimo The Coast Bastion Inn
11 Bastion Street
Nanaimo, BC V9R 6E4
nanaimo@lsbc.org
Prince George Coast Inn of the North
770 Brunswick Street
Prince George, BC V2L 2C2
prince_george@lsbc.org
Prince Rupert Prince Rupert's Crest Hotel
222 West 1st Avenue
Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1A8
prince_rupert@lsbc.org
Victoria Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville Street
Victoria, BC V8V 1X3
victoria@lsbc.org


Election of Second Vice-President for 2008

Each year at the AGM members elect a Bencher to serve as Second Vice-President for the following year, pursuant to Law Society Rule 1-18. The Benchers are pleased to announce their nomination of Gavin H.G. Hume, QC to serve as Second Vice-President in 2009 and invite the profession to support the nomination.

Under Rule 1-3(2), the Second Vice-President for 2009 will become First Vice-President in 2010 and President in 2011.

Gavin G. Hume, QCGavin G. Hume, QC  

Gavin Hume graduated from Delbrook High School in North Vancouver and went on to the University of British Columbia, where he earned his BA in 1964 and his LLB in 1967. Hume was called to the BC Bar in 1968 and appointed Queen's Counsel in 1992.

Throughout his career he has been a member of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP (formerly Russell & DuMoulin). He has served as an executive member and Provincial Chair of the Labour Law Section, BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, and as an executive member and Chair of the National Labour Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.

Hume is Past-President and Honourary Life Member of the Human Resources Management Association of BC, and is a founding member and current President of the Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers.

A Bencher of the Law Society since 2004, Hume is Chair of the Ethics Committee and serves on the Executive Committee and the Retention of Women in Law Task Force. He has served as Chair of the Regulatory Policy Committee and the Women in the Legal Profession Task Force, and as a member of the Audit and Discipline Committees and the Ombudsperson Task Force.

Hume is a Director of the YMCA, a past Trustee and Chair of the YMCA Endowment Fund. An Honourary Lifetime Member of the YMCA, Hume has served two terms as Board Chair for the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, and as Honourary Solicitor since 1985. In 2003 Hume received the Canadian Bar Association's Community Service Award: Vancouver.