2006 Annual General Meeting of The Law Society of British Columbia
July 19, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
Registration: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (in Vancouver); 11:45 am – 12:30 pm (other locations)
Call to order: 12:30 pm
Main location: Four Seasons Hotel, 791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Audioconference locations: Castlegar • Cranbrook • Fort St. John • Kamloops
Kelowna • Nanaimo • Prince George • Prince Rupert • Surrey • Victoria
BC lawyers are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society, which will be held on Friday, September 29, 2006. The main location will be in Vancouver, with the meeting linked to 10 audioconference locations — Castlegar, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Surrey and Victoria.
Included with this notice is the Law Society’s 2005 Annual Report or, if you have registered to receive Law Society publications by email, the 2005 financial statements. A further notice, including the meeting agenda, location of the audioconference sites and member resolutions (if applicable), will be mailed to the profession in late August.
Member resolutions to the meeting
All member resolutions submitted to the meeting must be in writing, signed by two members in good standing and received by the Executive Director no later than 5:00 pm on Monday, August 21, 2006: see Rule 1-6(6).
If you have any questions regarding resolutions or amendments, please contact David Newell, Corporate Secretary, by telephone at 604 443-5723 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300), telefax at 604 443-5770 or email at email@example.com.
The business of the AGM will include the following:
- Election of Second Vice-President for 2007
- Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2007
- Practice fee resolution
- Member resolutions (if applicable).
Practice fee resolution
Pursuant to section 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act, the practice fee is set by a majority of members voting on a resolution at a general meeting or by referendum. The Benchers have resolved that the 2007 practice fee be set by a vote at the Annual General Meeting.
The practice fee resolution is as follows:
Resolution 1 – Practice fee, submitted by the Benchers
WHEREAS: A. the Benchers have determined that the amount $1,014.26 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 2007; and B. 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:
BC Court House Library Society
Lawyers Assistance Program
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada
The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
BE IT RESOLVED THAT, for the practice year commencing January 1, 2007, the practice fee be set at $1,296.50 pursuant to s. 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act.
The 2007 practice fee components
The 2007 Law Society practice fee resolution, as proposed by the Benchers, is set out as Resolution 1.
The Benchers have determined that $1,296.50 per practising lawyer is required to operate the Law Society and its programs and to provide funding to the outside programs it supports (the BC Courthouse Library Society, the Lawyers Assistance Program, the Advocate, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the Canadian Legal Information Institute). Additionally, based on the 2006 budget, included in the total 2007 practice fee is an amount of $85,000 to support various pro bono organizations ($8.85 per member). Future pro bono funding is the subject of a Law Society task force chaired by Ian Donaldson, QC which is expected to report to the Benchers prior to the end of 2006. The recommended practice fee represents an increase of $231 from the practice fee approved by the members for 2006.
At their September meeting, the Benchers also plan to approve a $100 reduction in the 2007 Lawyers Insurance Fund fee and a $100 reduction in the 2007 Special Compensation Fund fee. The result will be a net increase in mandatory fees for most members in 2007 of $31, representing a 1% increase over the total fees in 2006.
More information on each component of the practice fee is set out below.
1. Law Society fee
The Law Society General Fund operations and programs are supported by the practice fee and the trust administration fee.
In 2005 and 2006, planned contributions from the General Fund reserve were used to make up the difference between practice fee revenue and the actual operating costs of the Law Society. This was done to reduce the accumulated reserve to a more appropriate level. In recommending the 2007 fee, the Benchers have ensured that it reflects the actual cost of running the Law Society’s General Fund programs that are funded by the practice fee and that the practice fee can sustain those programs with minimal reliance upon the General Fund reserve. This approach will provide greater long-term stability to the Law Society’s budgeting and fee setting processes. The recommended 2007 fee will ensure the Law Society can meet demands for its core regulatory services in fulfilment of its public interest mandate.
Effective March 1, 2005, the Law Society began collecting a trust administration fee (TAF) from BC lawyers. Proceeds from the TAF are accounted for separately within the General Fund and, as directed by the Benchers, are only used to fund the new Trust Assurance Program, Part B insurance and the existing audit and investigations and custodianship programs that were formerly funded by the Special Compensation Fund fee. With the introduction of the new Trust Assurance Program on January 1, 2007, the Law Society expects that 95 per cent of all law firms will not have to file an accountant’s report and will save the cost of retaining an outside accountant.
Total fees payable by practising, insured lawyers pursuant to s. 23(1) of the Legal Profession Act are $3,196.50. Total mandatory fees for practising, insured members of the Law Society of Alberta are $3,706, while similar fees for the Law Society of Upper Canada are $ 4,209.
Key priorities for the Law Society in 2007 include introduction of a new firm practice course for lawyers starting their own practices and a refresher course for former lawyers returning to the profession. Both of these programs will be delivered online to ensure economical delivery and universal access. The Benchers also remain committed to ensuring that all Law Society programs incorporate best practices and cost-effective management.
2. BC Courthouse Library Society (BCCLS)
The Law Society’s contribution to the funding of the BCCLS in 2007 is $160, unchanged from 2006. The BCCLS provides legal information services to the profession and the public online and through 30 branch libraries.
3. Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP)
The funding designated for LAP in 2007 remains unchanged at $53 per practising lawyer. LAP provides confidential outreach, education, support and referrals to lawyers and other members of the legal community.
4. Advocate subscription
The subscription costs for the Advocate, distributed bi-monthly to all BC lawyers, is $27.50, unchanged from 2006.
5. 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 issues such as anti-money laundering legislation and inter-provincial mobility. All provincial and territorial law societies have agreed to providefunding in the amount of $13 per member. This is unchanged from 2006.
6. 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 in 2007. The Law Society’s contribution of $28.74 per member represents an increase of $7 over 2006 to fund improvements to CanLII’s case and legislation collections and to provide enhancements to CanLII’s search engine.
Law Society Insurance and Special Fund fees in 2007
The Benchers will set the 2007 Special Compensation Fund and Lawyers Insurance Fund fees at their September meeting. Based on the operational performance and financial strength of the Lawyers Insurance Fund, the Benchers plan to reduce the insurance fee for 2007 by $100, from $1,500 to $1,400. In addition, the Benchers have also determined that it is appropriate to reduce the fee for the Special Compensation Fund in 2007 by $100, from $600 to $500. This reduction will in no way impair the Law Society’s ability to pay the Wirick Special Compensation Fund claims.
For more information
If you have any questions about the financial information in this notice, please consult the audited financial statements in the Law Society’s 2005 Annual Report or contact Jeanette McPhee, Chief Financial Officer, by telephone at 604 443-5712 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.