2002 Annual General Meeting of The Law Society of British Columbia

Posted: August 21, 2002

Friday, September 20, 2002
Lunch and registration: 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Call to order: 12:30 p.m.

Main location: Four Seasons Hotel, 791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Audioconference locations: Cranbrook, Fort. St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna
Nanaimo, Prince George, Smithers, Victoria

BC lawyers and articled students are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society, which will be held on Friday, September 20, 2002. The main location will be in Vancouver, with the meeting joined to eight audioconference sites - in Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Smithers and Victoria.

Registration begins at 11:45 a.m. and a light lunch will be available in all locations beginning at 12:00 noon.

All AGM locations are wheelchair accessible. If you plan to attend the meeting and have any other access needs, please contact Susan Atkinson at the Law Society office at your earliest convenience so that arrangements can be made. She can be reached at: tel. (604) 443-5782 or toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300; fax (604) 646-5919; TTY (604) 443-5700; email: satkinson@lsbc.org.

The following is scheduled for the Annual General Meeting (call to order is at 12:30 p.m.):

  • Setting the practice fee for 2003 . see Resolution 1 inside
  • Resolutions from members . see Resolutions 2 to 4 inside
  • Election of the Second Vice-President for 2003
  • Appointment of Law Society auditors for 2003

The financial commentary and forecast are set out in this notice.

The financial statements of the Law Society for the period January 1 to December 31, 2001 and program reports from 2001 are set out in the enclosed Law Society of British Columbia 2001 Annual Report.

RSVP by email to let us know you're coming

Both members and articled students are welcome to attend the Annual General Meeting, but only members may vote.

If you plan to attend the meeting, please RSVP by email. A list of AGM locations and email addresses is set out on page 2. Your reply will assist the Law Society in planning facilities and registration.

If fewer than 15 members indicate that they will attend at an audioconference location, that location may be cancelled. Only those members who have replied will be notified of a cancellation.

If you are attending the meeting at the main location in Vancouver, you must register on arrival. The registration desk will open at 11:45 a.m. If you are attending at one of the audioconference locations, you will be asked to register at that location. Please be prepared to show identification during registration.

Please also remember to bring your copy of the 2001 Annual Report and this notice to the meeting.

 
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/town

Location

RSVP by email to:

Vancouver

Four Seasons Hotel, 791 West Georgia Street

vancouver@lsbc.org

Cranbrook

Three Bars Ranch, 9500 Wycliff Perry Road

cranbrook@lsbc.org

Fort St. John

North Peace Cultural Centre, 10015 - 100th Avenue

fort_st_john@lsbc.org

Kamloops

Coast Canadian Inn, 339 St. Paul Street

kamloops@lsbc.org

Kelowna

Coast Capri Hotel, 1171 Harvey Avenue

kelowna@lsbc.org

Nanaimo

Coast Bastion Inn, 11 Bastion Street

nanaimo@lsbc.org

Prince George

Coast Inn of the North, 770 Brunswick Street

prince_george@lsbc.org

Smithers

Courthouse (Barristers' Room), 3793 Alfred Avenue

smithers@lsbc.org

Victoria

The Fairmont Empress, 721 Government Street

victoria@lsbc.org


Resolutions to the Annual General Meeting

Resolutions to the meeting are set out below in the order in which they were received, which is not necessarily the order in which they will be considered at the meeting. The Executive Committee is authorized to set the agenda for the meeting (Rule 1-11(12)).

Resolution 1 - 2003 practice fee, submitted by the Benchers

BE IT RESOLVED that, for the practice year commencing January 1, 2003, the practice fee be set as follows, pursuant to section 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act:

A. For members who have been in practice five full years or more:

Law Society 
BC Courthouse Library Society 
Lawyers Assistance Program 
Advocate subscription 
Amount equivalent to Canadian Bar Association fee 
$   903.00
130.00
37.00
27.50
     441.44
Total practice fee $1,538.94

B. For members who have been in practice less than five full years:

Law Society 
BC Courthouse Library Society 
Lawyers Assistance Program 
Advocate subscription 
Amount equivalent to Canadian Bar Association fee 
$   903.00
130.00
37.00
27.50
     272.44
Total practice fee  $1,369.94

Please note: At their meeting on June 29, the Benchers determined that the external programs to be funded through the 2003 practice fee should be identified separately within the fee resolution, for greater clarity. As a result, the portions of the proposed 2003 practice fee that are to be paid to the BC Courthouse Library Society, the Lawyers Assistance Program, the Advocate and the Canadian Bar Association are noted on this page.

The Canadian Bar Association component is described as an "amount equivalent to the Canadian Bar Association fee" to indicate that it applies regardless of a practising lawyer's membership in the CBA.

The practice fee does not include the Lawyers Insurance Fund fee or the Special Compensation Fund assessment for the 2003 policy year. These amounts will be set by the Benchers under sections 30(3)(a) and 23(1)(b) of the Legal Profession Act and will be shown on the annual fee notice mailed to members in November.

Resolution 2 - submitted by Gail Davidson and Anthony Vecchio, both of Vancouver

Whereas the Law Society of British Columbia has the duty and obligation to uphold the rights and freedoms of all persons and to uphold and protect the interests of its members;

Whereas the Law Society of British Columbia has the duty and obligation to uphold and protect the interest of members who have withdrawn from membership in the Canadian Bar Association or who want their membership to be voluntary;

Whereas the Legal Profession Act does not authorize the Law Society of British Columbia to compel membership in the Canadian Bar Association nor to compel the payment of Canadian Bar Association fees as a condition of membership in the Law Society of British Columbia;

Whereas, according to the results of a random survey conducted by the Law Society of British Columbia of 404 members May 9-13 2002, 54% expressed that membership in the Canadian Bar Association should be voluntary, 42% compulsory, and 4% were undecided;

Resolution:

Be it resolved that the practice fee fixed pursuant to section 30(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act shall not include a fee for the Canadian Bar Association and that, for the practice year commencing January 1, 2003, the practice fee resolution of the Benchers be amended and set as follows, pursuant to section 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act:

Law Society
BC Courthouse Library Society 
Lawyers Assistance Program 
Advocate Subscription 
$ 903.00
130.00
37.00
       27.50
Total Practice Fee  $1,097.50
Resolution 3 - submitted by Eric Rice, QC of Richmond and John Waddell, QC of Victoria

WHEREAS the Law Society of British Columbia has been collecting the Canadian Bar Association fee as part of the Law Society Annual Practice fee and remitting it to the Canadian Bar Association for more than fifty years;

AND WHEREAS the Canadian Bar Association has used those funds for the benefit of British Columbia lawyers at both the Provincial and National levels;

AND WHEREAS it is desirable to continue this practice while addressing concerns of some members of the Law Society regarding membership in the Canadian Bar Association:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Law Society, the Benchers, and each of them, be directed to:

A. remit, upon receipt, to the Canadian Bar Association, at the direction of the Canadian Bar Association, the amount equivalent to the Canadian Bar Association fee, which the Law Society has collected as a portion of the 2003 practice fee; and

B. work cooperatively with the Canadian Bar Association to develop a protocol to address the subject of Law Society members who do not wish to be members of the Canadian Bar Association.

Resolution 4 - submitted by A. Cameron Ward of Vancouver and Lloyd Duhaime of Victoria

WHEREAS:

A. The Legal Profession Act, R.S.B.C. 1998, c. 9 provides that the Benchers may authorize the Law Society to act as agent of the Canadian Bar Association for the purpose of collecting fees of that association from lawyers who are members of it; and

B. The Law Society Rules provide that the Benchers may direct the Executive Director to conduct a referendum ballot of all members of the Law Society;

BE IT RESOLVED that:

1. For the practice year commencing January 1, 2003, the practice fee shall not include an "amount equivalent to Canadian Bar Association fee";

2. The Benchers be instructed to direct the Executive Director to conduct a referendum of all members of the Law Society by mailing them a ballot containing the following question:

"Should membership in the Canadian Bar Association be voluntary?"; and

3. If a majority of members answer the said question in the affirmative, that the Law Society cease its practice of making payment of the Canadian Bar Association fee a condition of practising law in the Province of British Columbia.

Law Society fees and other revenues in 2003

2003 Law Society practice fee

The proposed 2003 Law Society practice fee resolution set out above encompasses 1) the Law Society fee, 2) a BC Courthouse Library Society (BCCLS) fee, 3) a Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) fee, 4) an Advocate subscription fee and 5) an amount equivalent to the Canadian Bar Association fee. Members will be asked to set the practice fee at the Annual General Meeting on September 20, 2002.

Revenue projections for 2003 are based on 8,950 practising members and 1,200 non-practising and retired members. Growth in Law Society membership has slowed in recent years and is expected to be modest next year and in the near future.

1) Law Society fee

The Law Society component of the practice fee supports Law Society operations and programs. The Benchers are proposing that the Law Society fee for 2003 be set at $903 per member, a $21 (2.4%) increase over 2002. In previous years, the Law Society fee included the grants paid to both the BCCLS and LAP. These amounts are now shown separately in the practice fee resolution, for greater clarity.

Over the past few years, the Benchers have decided to fund some programs and initiatives from General Fund reserves. Some years the Fund's reserve balance was consequently reduced. In 2002 the Law Society fee was increased to maintain program funding and to balance the budget without drawing on reserves. The 2003 fee has been set in the same manner.

2) BC Courthouse Library Society fee

The BCCLS fee of $130 in 2003 is unchanged from 2002. This fee has previously been included as part of the Law Society fee. This fee is now set out separately so that members can easily ascertain the funding provided to this institution. Two Benchers, one as Chair, sit on the BCCLS board of directors.

3) Lawyers Assistance Program fee

The LAP fee is $37 in 2003, a $4 (12.1%) increase from 2002. This fee has previously been included as part of the Law Society fee. This fee is now set out separately, so that members can easily ascertain the funding provided to this service organization. LAP regularly provides update reports to the Benchers.

4) Advocate subscription fee

The subscription fee for the Advocate is $27.50 in 2003, a $2.50 (10%) increase from 2002. This subscription fee has been unchanged since 1999. The Advocate is a bi-monthly journal provided to all Law Society members.

5) Amount equivalent to CBA fee

The 2003 Canadian Bar Association fee is $441.44 (for members in practice five full years or more), up $32.34 (7.9%) from 2002, and $272.44 (for members in practice less than five full years), up $17.34 (6.8%) from 2002. The Canadian Bar Association sets the CBA fee.

Other fees and revenues in 2003

The Law Society's non-practising fee will remain at $300 in 2003, which includes a subscription to the Advocate.

The Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) fee paid by articled students will remain at $2,250 per student for 2003. Less than 40% of the total cost of PLTC is funded through the Law Society fee.

There are no other fee changes in 2003. Retired membership fees, law corporation fees and many other fees have remained unchanged since 1996.

Total fees paid by lawyers in BC to the Law Society

At their October meeting, the Benchers will set the Special Compensation and Lawyers Insurance Fund fees. The Special Compensation Fund fee is expected to increase by $50 to $300 in 2003. The Lawyers Insurance Fund fee is expected to be maintained at $1,500 for the fourth year in a row.

The anticipated increase in the Special Compensation Fund fee relates to increased custodian, investigation and audit costs. Special Fund claims have also increased significantly in the past couple of years. The most recent claims analysis of the Lawyers Insurance Fund indicates there will soon be a need to decrease the reserve subsidy that the profession has enjoyed for a number of years. The Benchers will be reviewing these programs in detail prior to setting the 2003 assessments.

As reflected in the chart 2002-2003 total annual fees of Canadian law societies on page 5, BC lawyers enjoy a favourable total combined fee, compared to that paid by lawyers elsewhere in Canada. Combined Law Society fees of $2,898 in BC (comprising the Law Society, BCCLS, LAP and Advocate fees, as well as insurance and Special Compensation Fund fees) would be among the lowest in the country in 2003.

2002-2003 total annual fees of Canadian law societies*

* Fees in some jurisdictions are for 2002 as fees for 2003 are unavilable at this time.

** Special Compensation Fund and Insurance fees in BC are estimates only; these fees will be set by the Benchers in the Fall.

The Law Society, BCCLS, LAP and Advocate components of the practice fee (at $1,098) also compare fairly with the general fund fees of other Canadian jurisdictions, as can be seen in the chart 2002-2003 General Fund fees of Canadian law societies.

2002-2003 General Fund fees of Canadian law societies*

* Fees in some jurisdictions are for 2002 as fees for 2003 are unavilable at this time.
Law Society expenditures in 2003

Prior to recommending the 2003 practice fee to the profession, the Law Society reviewed all program areas and the emerging issues facing lawyers. The 2.4% increase in the Law Society fee proposed for 2003 allows for maintenance of programs, with some reallocations, cost of living increases and a small contingency fund.

With the ever-increasing impact of technology on law practice, the Benchers continue to work on several technology initiatives to help lawyers. In conjunction with other Canadian law societies and thanks to a funding contribution from the Law Foundation of BC, the Law Society is supporting CANLII as the "virtual law library." The Society also continues its support of the BC Courthouse Library Society whose service mandate is evolving under a new strategic plan to meet the challenges of the future. Finally, the Law Society continues to work on Juricert and numerous electronic initiatives aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of legal filings.

The Law Society is committed to enhanced interprovincial mobility for lawyers through joint initiatives with the other western law societies. Task forces are now reviewing trust accounting rules, special compensation and insurance fund coverage and admissions requirements. The Federation of Law Societies is moving in the same direction with its national mobility task force.

A final Law Society budget for 2003 will be discussed at the Benchers meeting in November. That meeting will involve a detailed look at programs as the Benchers set their 2003 spending priorities to fulfil their statutory obligations and the Law Society strategic plan.

For more information

If you have any questions about the financial information in this notice, please contact Neil Stajkowski, Chief Financial Officer, by telephone at (604) 443-5712 (toll-free in BC 1-800-903-5300), telefax at (604) 687-0135 or e-mail at nstajkowski@lsbc.org.