New rule allows lawyers to send electronic bills

In March the Benchers amended Law Society Rule 3-57 to allow lawyers to transmit a bill, and a letter accompanying a bill, to a client at the client's last known email address.

Rule 3-57(3), as amended by the addition of (d), now reads:

A bill or letter is delivered within the meaning of this Rule if it is .

(d) transmitted by electronic mail to the client at the client's last known electronic mail address.

The change reflects the legal recognition accorded to records in electronic form under the Electronic Transactions Act SBC 2001, c.10.

Lawyers will wish to consider, however, that section 69 of the Legal Profession Act on "Lawyers Bills" requires that bills be signed by or on behalf of the lawyer or accompanied by a signed letter. Section 11 of the Electronic Transactions Act provides that, if there is a requirement under law for the signature of a person, that requirement is satisfied by an electronic signature.

Lawyers interested in learning more about how to use electronic signatures in this context are welcome to contact Ron Usher, Staff Lawyer, Practice Opportunities, at rusher@lsbc.org.

The revised text of Rule 3-57 will be included in the next Members' Manual amendment package.