Benchers set guidelines for meeting in camera

Bencher meetings - held each month other than January and August - are open to Benchers, Law Society staff, BC lawyers and BC articled students, unless the President (or other Bencher presiding) declares the meeting closed under Law Society Rule 1-15(4). For information on meeting dates, please see the calendar section of the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.bc.ca.

In September the Benchers passed guidelines for holding portions of their meetings in camera. These guidelines are available in "About the Law Society / Strategic Plan and Governance" on the Society's website.

The Benchers must meet in camera to deliberate on a review of a panel decision or other matter that constitutes a hearing under the Legal Profession Act and Law Society Rules.

They may also meet in camera, with only appropriate Law Society staff, counsel and contractors present, to discuss:

  • matters relating to Law Society personnel of a financial or personal nature or other matters in respect of which, in the opinion of the Benchers, the need for privacy outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
  • litigation involving the Law Society and to seek or receive legal advice in any matter;
  • negotiations between the Law Society and another body or an individual, if the Benchers consider that disclosure might reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the Law Society;
  • any matter if, in the opinion of the Benchers, an open discussion would compromise the security of the Law Society or its property or of an identifiable individual; or
  • any matter if the Benchers consider that disclosure may reasonably be expected to harm the conduct of an investigation or enforcement of the Act, Rules or Professional Conduct Handbook.

The Benchers will not make a decision during an in camera session unless it is necessary to do so to protect privacy, security, confidentiality or privilege.