Christie decision update

February 27, 2006

This notice is provided to update the legal profession on the status of Christie v. British Columbia, the December 20, 2005 decision of the BC Court of Appeal respecting provincial sales tax on legal services (supplementary reasons issued February 10, 2006).

The provincial government has filed an application for a stay of the Court of Appeal's order pending appeal of the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Law Society will apply for intervenor status to oppose the stay application and to seek clarification of the circumstances in which lawyers should be required to remit PST in the period before the province’s appeal is determined. The Society will be seeking to confirm that, on an interim basis, the PST should be billed and remitted on solicitors’ matters and that it should not be billed or remitted on litigation matters. The Law Society will be represented by Josiah Wood, QC on this matter.

Neither party to the litigation requested that the Law Society intervene but the Court of Appeal’s decision seems to imply that the court wants the Law Society’s input. The stay application is scheduled for Thursday, March 2, 2006.

The provincial government has made a commitment to issue guidelines, based on the Court of Appeal decision, regarding the circumstances in which tax should and should not be collected. The Law Society has discussed the development of the guidelines with the government and has provided government officials with a list of issues raised by the profession to assist in preparing these guidelines.

Lawyers requiring further information should consult the Law Society's Notice to the Profession of January 13 or contact practice advisors Barbara Buchanan (604 697 5816 or bbuchanan@lsbc.org) or Dave Bilinsky (604 605 5331 or dbilinsky@lsbc.org ).

Further updates will be sent to the profession and published on the Law Society's website at the earliest opportunity.