News Releases

For immediate release June 1, 1998

Law Society authorizes citation against Laxton

The Law Society of British Columbia has authorized the issuance of a citation against John Noel Laxton in relation to his conduct in the BC Hydro/Raiwind affair. Legal counsel Chris Hinkson, of the Vancouver law firm Harper Grey Easton, has been retained by the Law Society to finalize the details of the citation and represent the Law Society in the hearing against Mr. Laxton. No hearing date has been set.

As the citation is authorized but not finalized, no details of the citation can be provided at this time. Further information as to the substance of the citation will be provided as it becomes available.

The Law Society cannot comment on the citation pending the completion and service of the citation, nor can it comment on the hearing until it is concluded.

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Note to Editors: Backgrounder follows. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Cordeau, Public Affairs Manager at 604-443-5724 or 1-800-903-5300 toll-free in B.C.

The Law Society of British Columbia makes available the following documents related to discipline hearings:

  • citation
  • hearing reports
  • hearing exhibits
  • Discipline Digest and Discipline Case Digest Summaries

Note also that hearings are generally open to the public; please check beforehand. Media may request a list of upcoming hearings or hearings that await decisions as to verdict and penalty.

Backgrounder

What is a citation?

It is a letter served on a member of the Law Society informing the member that a hearing into a member’s conduct will be taking place. Section 40(8) of the Legal Profession Act defines a citation as follows:

"The chair of the discipline committee or any three benchers may order a hearing into the conduct or competence of a member, former member or articled student by directing that a citation be issued against the member, former member or articled student".

Section 466 (2) of the Law Society Rules explains the substance of a citation as follows:

A citation may contain one or more allegations and each allegation shall:

a. be sufficiently clear and specific to give the respondent notice of the misconduct which is alleged, and

 

b. contain sufficient detail of the circumstances of the alleged misconduct to give the respondent reasonable information with respect to the act or omission to be proved against the respondent and to identify the transaction referred to.

When is a citation authorized?

After the Law Society conducts its investigation into the alleged conduct of a member, the Discipline Committee may issue a citation based on the outcome of the investigation. The Discipline Committee meets monthly to make these decisions.

For what reasons would a citation be authorized?

The details of a citation vary depending on the individual circumstances of the lawyer in question.

However, there are several discipline violations that may warrant a citation to be authorized and a discipline hearing to take place. They are:

professional misconduct

conduct unbecoming a member of the society: which "includes any matter, conduct or thing that is considered , in the judgment of the benchers or a panel,

a. to be contrary to the best interest of the public or of the legal profession, or

 

b. to harm the standing of the legal profession.

a breach of the Legal Profession Act or Law Society Rules

incompetent performance of duties undertaken by a lawyer in the capacity of a lawyer

How is a citation served on a member?

Section 466 (1) of the Law Society Rules outlines the process:

(1) A citation shall be:

a. approved by the Secretary, and

 

b. served on the respondent

 

(i.) personally, or by mailing it by registered mail to the respondent’s last known address, or by serving it in a manner directed by the Supreme Court

 

(ii.) not more than 90 days after the direction that it be issued, unless the Discipline Committee otherwise directs, and

 

(iii) not less than 30 days before the date set for the commencement of the hearing, unless the respondent consents in writing to a shorter period.