E-Brief: November 2009

Bencher elections

The 2010-2011 Bencher election results are in: five Benchers were elected for the first time and 17 were re-elected. Patricia Bond, David Crossin, QC, Alan Ross and Catherine Sas, QC are the new Benchers from Vancouver and Lee Ongman is the new Bencher from the Caribou District.

Amendments to the no cash rule

The Benchers have approved amendments to Rule 3-51.1, clarifying that where lawyers receive but do not accept $7,500 or more in cash they must not make use of it; they must immediately return the cash to the payor and must provide a written report to the Executive Director within seven days. See the revised Rule 3-51.1.

Continuing professional development

Lawyers are reminded they must complete the minimum of 12 hours of CPD by December 31, 2009. Looking ahead to next year, a Rule change by Benchers at the November 13 meeting makes it official: as of January 1, 2010, mentorships will qualify for CPD credits. For the full guidelines see new Rule 3-18.31.

Strategic plan review

CEO Tim McGee reported on the initiatives completed in 2009, in furtherance of the Law Society's 2009-2011 Strategic Plan. Initiatives include the development and promotion of the business case for retention of women in the legal profession, completion of a public survey on the demand for and supply of legal services, development of a mentoring program and amendments to the rules about advertising. For 2010, the Law Society will continue to pursue initiatives under the Plan including the work of the Delivery of Legal Services Task Force, as well as the compilation of demographic data on the profession in BC. The Benchers will also be reviewing the participation of aboriginal peoples in the legal profession as a follow-up to the resolutions passed at the 2009 AGM.

Federation of Law Societies of Canada developments

Life Bencher Ian Donaldson, QC, has been elected as Vice President of the Federation, and will become President in 2011. As well, the Federation has approved a national model code of professional conduct for lawyers for consideration by the Law Society’s Ethics Committee. The Federation has also completed its final report on the Canadian Common Law Degree, which is being considered by the Law Society's Credentials Committee. For the latest developments visit: www.flsc.ca/en/whatsnew/whatsnew.asp.

Practice Direction

The Provincial Court has issued a new Practice Direction for Victoria, South Vancouver Island District, which will come into effect December 1, 2009, Criminal Caseflow Management Rules – Full text: Arraignment and Trial Confirmation Hearings.

Legal independence educational program for BC high school students

The Law Society and the Justice Education Society partnered to produce a DVD and supporting teacher's guide, called "Legal Independence: It's Your Right," now available to Civics 11, Social Studies 11 and Law 12 teachers in BC. The materials are designed to provide students with an understanding of the rule of law and how judicial and lawyer independence are essential to the rule of law in a democratic state. For more information, contact the Justice Education Society at http://justiceeducation.ca/resources/legal-independence.

Chinese-language media and law workshop

On November 16, 2009, the Law Society in partnership with the Jack Webster Foundation hosted a media workshop focused on assisting Chinese-language media outlets with legal reporting. Anna Fung, QC moderated the event. Panel members included lawyers David F. Sutherland, Harvey Delaney and Bonnie Teng. Thanks to Fasken Martineau for donating Chinese English legal dictionaries for each of the 25 participants.


On November 4, 2009 Bencher Art Vertlieb, QC and Jerry McHale, QC, Acting Deputy Minister, Ministry of Attorney General, each received one of the CBA, BC Branch's highest honours, the Georges A. Goyer, QC Memorial Award. As well, on November 17 the CBA, BC Branch awarded Bencher Kathryn Berge, QC its Women Lawyers Forum Award of Excellence.

Welcoming ceremony

There will be a formal ceremony to welcome the Honourable Mr. Justice Gregory Bowden to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Monday, December 7, 2009 at 9:15 am in Courtroom 53 at the Vancouver Law Courts.

Send your comments or questions to communications@lsbc.org.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in E-Brief is accurate. However, the information presented is necessarily a summary. When considering how any amendments or additions to the Legal Profession Act, Law Society Rules and Professional Conduct Handbook might affect their obligations and requirements, readers should refer to the complete text.