Credentials hearings

Law Society Rule 2-69.1 provides for the publication of summaries of credentials hearing panel decisions on applications for enrolment in articles, call and admission and reinstatement. If a panel rejects an application, the published summary does not identify the applicant without his or her consent.

George Edward Davis

Vancouver, BC
Called to the bar: August 1, 1985
Voluntarily ceased membership: January 1, 2004

Hearing (Application for reinstatement): May 17 2005
Panel: Anne Wallace, QC, as a one- Bencher panel
Report issued: July 27, 2005 (indexed as 2005 LSBC 32)
Counsel: Henry Wood, for the Law Society and Derek Brindle, QC, for Mr. Davis

Mr. Davis, who voluntarily ceased membership in the Law Society on January 1, 2004, subsequently applied for reinstatement. The Credentials Committee referred the application for hearing.

Mr. Davis had practised law for over 30 years and was experienced in the practice of bankruptcy and insolvency law.

At the time he ceased membership, Mr. Davis was the defendant in a civil action. The BC Supreme Court subsequently found that he had counselled clients to transfer assets in circumstances that the transfer amounted to a fraudulent conveyance in a transaction, a finding which was upheld by the BC Court of Appeal.

The hearing panel noted that it needed to decide on the whole of the evidence, not just that case, whether Mr. Davis is qualified to be reinstated. The panel took into account that the outcome of the court case had come as a surprise to Mr. Davis, that his actions were not unprecedented and that the courts had not suggested he had been dishonest.

Before the panel were letters of reference and support for Mr. Davis from senior members of the bar and leading counsel in this area. These lawyers described him as capable, honourable and a person of honesty and integrity. Mr. Davis also presented his curriculum vitae, which showed that he had made many contributions over the years to the community.

The panel found that Mr. Davis had demonstrated that he was an asset to the legal community and the community at large and that he was of good character and repute and fit to be a member of the Law Society.

The panel granted Mr. Davis’ application for reinstatement, on the condition that:

  • an undertaking he had previously given to the Credentials Committee remains in effect and that he accordingly must undertake to obtain Law Society approval before setting up in private practice;
  • he not advise on any insolvency or estate planning matters except to his direct family;
  • he pay the reinstatement fee; and
  • he pay costs of the hearing.

Note: Although Mr. Davis’ application has been approved, as of October 2005 he had not yet completed steps to reinstate.

Robert Bruce MacAdam

Victoria, BC
Called to the bar: September 13, 1983
Voluntarily ceased membership: January 1, 1999
Reinstated: September 15, 2005

Hearing (Application for reinstatement): August 4, 2005
Panel: John J.L. Hunter, QC, as a one- Bencher panel
Report issued: August 8, 2005 (indexed as 2005 LSBC 34)
Counsel: Herman Van Ommen, for the Law Society, and Robin N. McFee, QC, for Mr. MacAdam

Mr. MacAdam, who voluntarily ceased as a member of the Law Society in 1998, applied for reinstatement in 2005. His application was referred to the Credentials Committee, which ordered a hearing.

The credentials hearing panel addressed three problem areas.

First, during his time as a sole practitioner in family practice in Golden, Mr. MacAdam was the subject of four conduct reviews, each of which led to a citation. Three of the citations were for discourteous conduct towards other lawyers, clients and court personnel.

The panel observed that Mr. MacAdam had demonstrated an arrogant and insensitive approach to other people and lacked awareness about the effect of his words on them. None of the incidents involved financial matters or provided Mr. MacAdam with any benefit.

The second area of concern was a citation that arose from a Wildlife Act offence (shooting a grizzly bear without the appropriate licence). Mr. MacAdam committed this offence and subsequently attempted to avoid responsibility. A discipline hearing panel had found him guilty of conduct unbecoming a lawyer. In addition to being penalized by the Law Society at the time, Mr. MacAdam was ostracized in the hunting community.

The panel took note that these incidents occurred over a short period (between 1993 and 1995), when Mr. MacAdam faced personal difficulties and also pressures in setting up his own practice. Mr. MacAdam made no attempt to justify or excuse the actions that led to these conduct reviews and citations. He accepted that his conduct was not appropriate and assured the panel it would not be repeated. The panel found that, when Mr. MacAdam decided in 2003 he wished to return to practice, he took treatment to deal with his problems better and improve his reaction to pressure.

A third area of concern related to Mr. MacAdam’s medical fitness. Both the Law Society and the panel, however, were satisfied from the evidence that, so long as Mr. MacAdam continued to comply with his recommended medical treatment, that issue should not pose an impediment to his reinstatement.

Mr. MacAdam had been offered a position as a lawyer in public service, conditional on his reinstatement. The panel believed this supervised practice setting would be ideal for him.

The panel was satisfied that Mr. MacAdam was of good character and repute and fit to become a barrister and solicitor, and approved his application for reinstatement on the condition that:

  • he practise only in a supervised setting and not as a sole practitioner; and
  • he continue to receive medical assistance and take his recommended medication.

No time limit was placed on the requirement of supervised practice, and the panel noted that Mr. MacAdam could apply in future for a variation of the condition.