Updates to the Rules and Handbook

These are some recent highlights of amendments to the Law Society Rules and Professional Conduct Handbook. The text of all revised rules and a synopsis of the changes are included in the Member’s Manual amendment package enclosed in this mailing and in the Publications & Forms section of the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.bc.ca.

Law Society Rules

The Law Society may disclose restrictions and conditions of practice that are imposed on lawyers in credentials or disciplinary hearings, and may continue to disclose restrictions or conditions concerning areas of law limitations, even if they result from non-public processes (Rules 2-26.1(1), (5) and (6), 3-3(2) and (3.1), 3-16(1), (4) and (5), 3-46(7) and (8), 4-38.2 and 9-11(7) and (8)).

A lawyer may not receive in cash $7,500 or more (the previous threshold was $10,000 or more) in any one client matter or transaction, a provision that remains subject to certain exceptions (Rule 3-51.1(3)). For more on the rules respecting receipt of cash, see page 6.

All lawyers who fail to report an unpaid judgment and to provide a proposal for satisfying the judgment are subject to discipline (Rules 3-44(4) and 3-46(3)). These amendments are for clarification and to ensure the provisions apply to both solvent and insolvent lawyers.

The Discipline Committee is authorized to make any investigation it considers desirable when a matter is referred to it under Division 6 (“Financial Responsibility”), including matters involving a financially solvent lawyer (Rule 3-46(1) and (6)).

The Executive Director has discretion to publish a notice of a custodianship order and the reasons for it if publication is in the public interest.

Professional Conduct Handbook

Appendix 3 of the Handbook on “Real Property Transactions” reminds lawyers of their obligations in Chapter 6 with respect to acting jointly for clients.

A transaction is not considered to have a commercial element that disqualifies it as a simple conveyance merely because one of the parties is a corporation. The Benchers considered but decided against making any changes to section 5(g) of the Appendix; that section provides that a construction mortgage advanced in stages is not to be considered a simple conveyance.

There are small revisions to Chapter 4, Rule 6 so that the heading now reads “Dishonesty, crime or fraud of client” (“of client” added) and the footnote to the rule places an obligation on a lawyer to “make enquiries” rather than to “be wary.”