Task force appointed

Presidential honoraria come under review

An independent blue ribbon task force is reviewing the annual honoraria paid to the Law Society President and Vice-Presidents. Any recommendation the task force might make for an increase in these honoraria would first be put to the profession for approval in a referendum and would not take effect this year.

An honorarium for the Law Society President was first introduced in 1991. In 2000 the President's honorarium increased from $50,000 to $75,000 and the First and Second Vice-Presidents were accorded an honorarium of $25,000 each. These amounts were approved by BC lawyers voting in a referendum in February, 2000 at the recommendation of a committee comprised of R. Paul Beckmann, QC, Trudi L. Brown, QC, G. Leigh Harrison, QC and Martin R. Taylor, QC. The honoraria have not increased since that time.

An honorarium is intended to provide some compensation to a President for time spent in service to the profession, and to enable the President to devote more professional time to Law Society affairs. The payment has also been supported as a way to permit Benchers who are sole practitioners or members of small firms to stand for election as President, thus expanding candidacy to a broader cross-section of the profession.

Offering an honorarium in each of the three years of the presidential track recognizes that increased responsibilities, and the financial impact of those responsibilities, begin as soon as a Bencher is elected Second Vice-President.

The committee that reviewed the presidential honoraria in 2000 recommended a regular review in future years.