|For immediate release||November 25, 2003|
Law Society will refer Blair Suffredine hearing to new panel
It has come to the attention of the Law Society that the discipline panel hearing the citation relating to Blair Suffredine, QC was not properly constituted under the Law Society's Rules.
The error came to light during a routine review of discipline committee minutes by Law Society staff. Neither Mr. Suffredine nor his counsel were aware of the error until notified by the Law Society.
Due to a clerical error in the computer database that lists hearing disqualifications, a person was appointed to the Suffredine hearing panel who had been part of the discipline committee that approved the citation. Under Law Society rules, a person who participates in the discipline committee that authorizes a citation against a lawyer cannot be a member of the panel that hears the prosecution of the citation. The discipline committee considers a number of cases each month and its members are obliged to rely on information provided by staff from the computer database to determine disqualifications. The Law Society is reviewing internal procedures to determine what steps, if any, need to be taken to ensure this does not happen again.
The citation against Mr. Suffredine will be referred to a new panel which will hold a hearing on January 7, 2004.
The Law Society of B.C. was founded in 1869 and is the governing body of the legal profession in B.C. It is an independent organization funded by dues paid by all B.C. lawyers. Under the provisions of the Legal Profession Act, the Law Society is responsible for the licensing, professional conduct and discipline of the more than 10,000 lawyers in B.C.
Law Society of B.C. media contact:
Brad Daisley, Public Affairs Manager
Office: 604-443-5724 or 1-800-903-5300 toll-free in B.C.