A look at 2002 Law Society fees

Practice fee

Lawyers at the September 21 Annual Meeting approved $1,045 as the Law Society component of the 2002 practice fee, up $45 from 2001. The increase was recommended by the Benchers, based on a balanced budget without the need to draw on General Fund reserves.

There are two other components of the practice fee: the Advocate subscription fee, which remains at $25, the CBA membership fee of $409.10 for members in practice at least five full years, up $32.44 from 2001 ($255.10 for members in practice less than five full years, up $16.94 from 2001.)

Here is the break-down of the 2002 practice fee:

A. For members who have been in practice five full years or more:


Law Society fee
Advocate subscription 
CBA fee

$1045.00
25.00
     409.10



Total practice fee

$1,479.10


B. For members who have been in practice less than five full years:


Law Society fee
Advocate subscription 
CBA fee

$1045.00
25.00
     255.10



Total practice fee

$1,325.10


Liability insurance assessment

In 2002, for the third year in a row, the Benchers have set the base professional liability insurance assessment for B.C. lawyers in private practice at $1,500. The profession has enjoyed a stable assessment because of strong reserves in the Lawyers Insurance Fund, effective management of the Fund and relative stability in claims and losses.

A new category of "innocent insured" coverage will be offered to law firms that wish to purchase it: see page 5.

Special Compensation Fund assessment

The Special Compensation Fund assessment, paid by all practising lawyers, will increase $50 to $250 in 2002.

The increase is necessary because of a substantial increase in the number and size of claims against the Fund over the past four years, and a substantial increase in payments or potential payments from the Fund this year and last. The increase in claims has also resulted in significantly higher audit and investigation costs as well as custodianship costs. It remains the experience of the Fund that the bulk of claims and claim payments relate to misappropriations by a small number of lawyers.

The Special Compensation Fund is responsible for the first $2.5 million in claims paid in a year, and the next $15 million is insured. The Fund reserve is now projected to stand at $6.77 million at the end of 2002.

Other fees

There will be no increase in 2002 to non-practising or retired member fees or to the PLTC fee paid by articled students. Most administrative fees will also stay the same, other than the application for enrolment fee, which doubles from $125 to $250 to offset the higher cost of credentials investigations, the certificate of standing fee ($50 in 2002) and notarial authentication fee ( $18.70 in 2002).