E-Brief: July 2010

Creating separation between prosecution and adjudication functions

After a careful review of practices at other law societies and regulatory bodies, the Benchers have given approval in principle to changing how the Law Society selects its hearing panel members. The model calls for the majority of any hearing panel to be composed of lawyers who are not Benchers together with public, non-lawyer representatives, to be chosen from an established "hearing pool." This model should create greater public confidence in the discipline process by creating a greater separation between those who are responsible for investigating and prosecuting allegations of lawyer misconduct and those who make the ultimate findings. The matter has been sent to the Act and Rules Subcommittee to determine the required rule changes.

Changes sought to Legal Profession Act

The Benchers have approved in principle requesting changes to the Act that will enhance the ability of the Law Society to regulate in the public interest. Since the last substantial review of the Act in 1998, public expectations about the effectiveness and transparency of self-regulating professions have increased and the Law Society needs to ensure that it has the legislative authority to meet these expectations.

Public Commission on the future of Legal Aid set to start in September

On June 24, senior criminal lawyer Leonard Doust, QC was named Commissioner of the Public Commission on Legal Aid. The Law Society is a funding contributor to this initiative, the purpose of which is to meet with British Columbians and gather potential solutions and priorities for legal aid.

Law Society Annual General Meeting

This year's AGM will be held on September 28, 2010 at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver. The first notice will be mailed out at the end of July. Once again, lawyers outside the city can participate by audioconference at locations in major centres throughout BC. A list of satellite locations and agenda topics, including voting information for the 2011 Second Vice President and submission of member resolutions, will be provided in the mailout and on the Law Society website in the coming weeks.

Practice directive - Pilot project for criminal conviction/acquittal appeals

The Court of Appeal has established a new regime to ensure conviction and acquittal appeals are heard within one year of filing the notice of appeal. Commencing September 7, 2010, this 15-month pilot project imposes and tests new filing deadlines and establishes a new compliance hearing mid-way in the process. See the Practice Directive.

Property developers face future risks

Although the real estate market made an initial recovery after the 2008 recession, recent developments suggest a second decline may occur - raising the possibility that purchasers may look for ways to avoid completing future contracts. Help your developer clients by alerting them to their new obligations to file amended disclosure statements arising from the Court of Appeal's decision in Chameleon Talent Inc. v. Sandcastle Holdings Ltd. And with the possibility of a “double dip” recession unfolding, all lawyers are encouraged to read "Hard Times: Managing risk in a troubled economy."

BC Court of Appeal strikes words in the Fraudulent Conveyance Act

In Botham Holdings Ltd. (Trustee of) v. Braydon Investments Ltd., the Court held that the words "by collusion, guile, malice or fraud" in section 1 of the Act no longer perform a meaningful function and should be struck. As long as there is an intent -- dishonest or not -- to thwart creditors, present or future, the transfer may be void and set aside.

Job posting

The Ethics and Practice Advice department has an opening for a practice advisor job-share. For details on this and other career opportunities, see the Law Society website.

Looking for more information on items related to Bencher meetings? See the Agendas and Minutes.

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.