Law Society President resigns

October 10, 2003

Howard Berge, QC today resigned as President of the Law Society of BC.

"In view of the remarks made by the trial judge in her sentencing judgment on October 9, 2003, I will be relinquishing all duties as President of the Law Society of BC until the resolution of the issues which have resulted from her remarks," Mr. Berge said.

Mr. Berge was charged with impaired driving and driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit in October, 2002. Those charges were dropped by Crown Counsel in the course of a court hearing on Thursday, and Mr. Berge instead pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention. The Law Society, as the regulatory body for BC lawyers, began an investigation of Mr. Berge's conduct in January by appointing independent counsel. That investigation was held in abeyance pending the outcome of the criminal trial and will now resume.

Mr. Berge will be replaced as President for the remainder of 2003 by the Law Society's First Vice-President, William Everett, QC. Mr. Everett is a partner at the Vancouver law firm Lawson, Lundell. He has extensive experience in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation. Mr. Everett will continue as President throughout 2004.

"Mr. Berge has provided the Law Society with more than a decade of valuable, voluntary service," Mr. Everett said. "His actions, as described in yesterday's court case, are completely out of character for him, but it is in the best interest of the public and the profession that he resign as President."