E-Brief: September 2010

Defalcation coverage for lawyers practising in multiple provinces

Benchers have approved the Federation of Law Societies' mobility defalcation compensation agreement. The program ensures law societies across Canada compensate people who sustain a financial loss from misappropriation of monies or property by a lawyer, while that lawyer is practising on a temporary basis in a host jurisdiction or with respect to the law of a host jurisdiction.

Handbook amendment to reflect R. v. Cunningham

The Professional Conduct Handbook has been amended to reflect the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in R. v. Cunningham. The Court stated that, in a criminal matter, a court has the authority to require counsel seeking to withdraw from a case to continue to represent an accused when the reason for withdrawal is non-payment of fees (Chapter 10, Rules 7, 8 and 9 and footnotes 2 and 3). For more, see the Summer 2010 issue of the Benchers Bulletin.

Potential special prosecutors

Benchers approved a rule amendment to allow the Law Society to disclose a lawyer's complaints history with that lawyer's consent (Rule3-3(2)) in connection with the lawyer's potential appointment by the Ministry of the Attorney General as a special prosecutor. The change addresses recommendations in a recent report by Stephen Owen, QC about the Law Society's role in vetting potential special prosecutors.

Referendum on distributing financial statements electronically

As required by section 12(1) of the Legal Profession Act, lawyers will be asked whether they support a rule amendment to allow for electronic distribution of the Law Society's audited financial statements in the interests of saving money and reducing the use of paper. A ballot and supporting materials will be mailed in late October.

Abeyance policy for conduct investigations

The Benchers have approved an abeyance policy for investigations into a lawyer's conduct where there are parallel proceedings in another forum. The Discipline Committee's decision to grant an abeyance requires protective undertakings from the requesting lawyer. The Law Society always retains the discretion to end an abeyance unilaterally at any point and to proceed immediately with its investigation, where the available information no longer justifies the abeyance. See the policy in Appendix 4 of the Benchers Governance Policies.

Final reminder for feedback on draft model Anton Piller order

On July 6, the Law Society emailed a Notice to the Profession requesting feedback on a draft model Anton Piller order. Send your comments no later than October 15, 2010 to Michael Lucas, Manager of Policy and Legal Services, at mlucas@lsbc.org.

Continuing professional development and mentoring

Lawyers who still need to meet their CPD requirements can gain valuable experience, while making a positive difference in a fellow lawyer's practice, through mentoring. To learn more about the Law Society's CPD-accredited mentorship program, see CPD/Mentoring on the Law Society's website.

Amendments to Supreme Court Civil and Family Rules

On August 5, 2010, the Supreme Court of BC made important amendments to the time frames for service of notices of application and the filing of the application responses. For details, visit the court's website.

Practice direction

The BC Provincial Court has issued a Practice Direction and a Notice to Profession about the fax filing pilot project. For details, see the court's website.

QC nominations

The Attorney General's office is now accepting nominations for Queen's Counsel. Nominations will only be accepted using an online nomination form, and the Queen's Counsel Appointments Advisory Committee no longer requires or considers letters of support. Deadline for nominations is October 29. For more information, visit the Ministry's website.

Video of Inspiring stories connecting future leaders now available

If you were unable to attend the Law Society's event this summer featuring the inspirational stories of Aboriginal leaders in the legal profession, or if you'd like to experience it again, you can watch a video of the event for a limited time.

International Bar Association Conference in Vancouver, October 3-8, 2010

The Law Society encourages lawyers to take advantage of the learning opportunities available at the largest gathering of the legal community in the world. For details, visit the conference website.

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.