E-Brief: May 2013

New system for ADR accreditation in family law

The Law Society has developed a new online system for lawyers to apply for accreditation to act as mediators, arbitrators and parenting coordinators in family law. New qualifications for these roles came into effect March 18, 2013 when the Family Law Act came into force. Information is available on the Law Society website. Lawyers currently acting as mediators, arbitrators and parenting coordinators have until January 1, 2014 to meet the new training requirements. After January 1, 2014 lawyers will not be able to act in those roles until they have been accredited.

Rule changes concerning trust property - lawyers acting as attorneys and executors

At their May meeting, the Benchers approved in principle amending the trust rules concerning lawyers handling trust funds in their capacity as personal representatives, where their appointment derives from a solicitor-client relationship. Concerns have been raised that lawyers' obligations as personal representatives could conflict with their obligations as lawyers handling trust funds under the Rules. The draft rule changes will be finalized by the Act and Rules Subcommittee and returned to the Benchers for approval. See Tab 3 of the Bencher agenda for more.

Benchers approve mobility agreement

The Benchers voted unanimously at their May meeting to approve in principle the National Mobility Agreement 2013. The Law Society's approval was subject to resolution among all law societies of the insurance regime for the agreement. If implemented, the agreement provides for full transfer mobility between the Barreau du Quebec and the other nine provincial law societies. See Tab 4 of the May agenda materials for more.

Law Society launches new, interactive website for professional development

The Law Society has launched an interactive website to replace the former Online Courses site. The new Online Learning Centre offers the same courses as the previous site, but has a number of improved features to engage users and help keep content up to date. Users are now able to easily comment on content, suggest edits and recommend new resources to improve the materials. Time spent working on the course materials counts towards continuing professional development credit.

Law Society to examine its dual role as regulator and insurer of lawyers

At their May meeting, the Benchers received a draft report from the Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee, examining the relationship between the Law Society's responsibilities as both a regulator and an insurer of lawyers. The draft report suggests that there are certain tensions between the Law Society's co-existing responsibilities as both regulator and insurer of lawyers that should be considered. The draft report is available in the May agenda package at Tab 10.

Reminder: real estate practitioners should use standard form undertakings

The Law Society has learned that not all lawyers are using the standard form undertakings contractually required in many residential real estate transactions. In particular, some vendors' lawyers are not undertaking to provide purchasers' lawyers with the required documents to evidence payment of existing charges within five business days of completion. The Law Society repeats its earlier Practice Watch reminder of the need to use these undertakings and the limited circumstances under which they can be varied. More background is available here.

Beat the reset clock: New Limitation Act in force June 1, 2013

With the new Limitation Act in force June 1, 2013, the Lawyers Insurance Fund urges lawyers to learn about the new Act and its effects in order to properly advise clients. Information is available here. Lawyers will also want to read "Ten tips to beat the reset clock" to be published shortly. It will help lawyers avoid missing a limitation under the new Act.

FLSC taking proposals for presentations at the National Family Law Program

Until May 30, 2013 the Federation of Law Societies of Canada is accepting proposals from lawyers who want to present a paper at the 2014 National Family Law Program. Next year's event will be held July 14-17 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in Whistler, BC. Information about how to submit a proposal is available on the Federation's website.

From the courts

Provincial Court PD no. 2013/001, Domestic Violence Docket (Kamloops, Kelowna and Penticton Registries)
Vancouver Master's chambers scheduling changes, Foreclosure Applications
Notices to Parties and the Legal Profession. The Federal Court has issued three new notices regarding Adjournments, Books of Authorities, and a Fast-Track Pilot Project (Immigration).

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