E-Brief: September 2012

Benchers approve new Family Law ADR Qualifications

At the September Benchers meeting, Family Law Task Force chair Carol Hickman, QC, presented the Task Force's final report recommending new qualification standards for lawyers who act as family arbitrators, mediators or parenting coordinators. The work was the result of a request from the provincial government as it replaces the existing Family Relations Act with the Family Law Act, set to come into force March 18, 2013. Among other recommendations approved by Benchers, lawyers acting as family law arbitrators or parenting coordinators must have at least 10 years of current practice experience, or experience as a judge or master. Read the recommendations.

New task force will consider the future of legal services regulation

The Benchers have approved a new task force which is set to begin its work in the fall. The Legal Service Providers Task Force, which will be chaired by Bruce LeRose, QC, will examine how the regulation of legal services may have to change in the face of an evolving marketplace for such services. Among other things, the Task Force will look at regulatory regimes in other jurisdictions and consider whether the regulation of non-lawyer legal service providers would improve public access to justice. Further details will be available in coming months.

New rules to enhance services provided by paralegals now in effect

Following approval by the Benchers, new rules are now in effect governing lawyers who employ paralegals. Details on what the rules mean for lawyers, paralegals and the public are in the Fall issue of Benchers' Bulletin, which will be distributed shortly. A British Columbia Supreme Court pilot project that will allow paralegals to make limited courtroom appearances in some family law matters is scheduled to begin in January 2013 and is now in development, and a similar project is being discussed with the Provincial Court.

Deadline for feedback on a draft Mareva injunction is October 15

The deadline to provide feedback on a draft model Mareva injunction order is October 15. Depending on the response from the profession, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may make a practice direction referring to the draft order as a general standard. More information is available on the Law Society website. Comments should be sent to Michael Lucas, Manager of Policy and Legal Services at mlucas@lsbc.org

Law Society launches two updated online courses

The Law Society's online Learning Centre has revamped two courses. The Small Firm Practice Course and the Practice Refresher Course have been updated and enhanced. If you enrolled in either of the existing programs before September 14, 2012, you will have until October 30, 2012 to complete your work. If you do not complete your work by the October deadline, you will have to start again using the new course materials. If you have any questions, please contact practicestandards@lsbc.org.

Land Title and Survey Authority of BC publishes reminder for land title forms completion

In addition to the information in the Land Title Electronic Forms Guidebook (Green Book), the Land Title and Survey Authority has published its Top three land title form completion tips to assist with the timely registration of land title applications, advising that failure to follow these instructions will lead to registration delays.

QC nominations now open

The Attorney General's office has sent out a call for nominations for Queen's Counsel. The honorary title of Queen's Counsel recognizes exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession. Anyone, outside of an immediate family member or candidates themselves, can make a nomination by filling out an online application form at ag.gov.bc.ca/queens-counsel. The deadline for nominations is October 12, 2012. Appointments are announced at the end of the year.

Legal advice-a-thon

In addition to many others, eight lawyers from the Law Society volunteered at the Pro Bono Going Public 2012 event in Vancouver this month. The free legal clinic is designed to raise awareness about BC's pro bono programs and to provide legal advice for low- and modest-income people. The Vancouver event was held on September 7. Clinics were also held in New Westminster, Victoria and Kelowna. The Law Society thanks all those who helped make this event a success. More information is available at advice-a-thon.ca.

From the courts

Court of Appeal: The Court of Appeal has issued directives on Mental Disorder Appeals and Publication Bans: see the court's website at courts.gov.bc.ca/Court_of_Appeal. The website also provides information on the court's new Policy on the Use of Electronic Devices in Courtrooms and new Access Policy.

Supreme Court of BC: The Supreme Court has issued PD-37 Consent Order to Waive Trial Management Conference and a Direction to the Registry about Civil and Family Forms: see courts.gov.bc.ca/supreme_court.

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