2013 Benchers election – call for nominations
August 26, 2013
An election will be held on Friday, November 15, 2013 for Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia in all districts (except District No 9, as explained below), for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2014 and ending December 31, 2015.
To be valid, nominations of candidates for election must be received by the Law Society by 5:00 pm on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. Each nomination must be signed by two nominators (who are members in good standing and eligible to vote in the relevant district) and must contain the nominee’s consent to the nomination.
Nomination forms may be obtained by downloading from the home page of the Law Society website at lawsociety.bc.ca (see link under Highlights), or by contacting Amy Tang, Executive Support Administrator, at 604.443.5779 (toll-free in BC 1.800.903.5300) or email@example.com.
Law Society Rules
For information on the election of Benchers, see Rules 1-18 through 1-42. The Law Society Rules are available in the Member’s Manual and in the Publications section of the Law Society website. If you have questions about the election process, please contact Bill McIntosh, Manager of Executive Support, at 604.443.5706 (toll-free 1.800.903.5300) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rules 1-21 and 1-22 outline the nomination process and qualifications required of a candidate for election as a Bencher. Rule 1-20(1) describes the Bencher electoral districts into which the province is divided.
Pursuant to Rule 1-20(2), the number of Benchers to be elected from the County of Westminster (District No. 4) has been reduced from 3 to 2, because Westminster Bencher Jan Lindsay, QC now holds the office of First Vice-President. Similarly, the number of Benchers to be elected from District No. 9 (Kamloops) has been reduced from one to none, because Kamloops Bencher Ken Walker, QC now holds the office of Second Vice-President. And, the number of Benchers to be elected from the County of Vancouver (District No. 1) will be reduced from 13 to 12, if David Crossin, QC (the Benchers’ nominee for the office of Second Vice-President in 2014) is elected at the Annual General Meeting on October 1, 2013. Under Rule 1-3(4), these three individuals automatically continue as Benchers until they complete their terms as president.
Roles and duties of the Benchers
The Benchers are the Law Society’s board of governors. They govern the work of the Society in accordance with the Legal Profession Act, set and enforce standards of professional responsibility for lawyers, and preside at discipline and credentials hearings. Benchers can expect their duties to consume four or five full days a month. For more information on the role and duties of the Benchers, see Bencher’s Oath and Duties on the Law Society website (under About Us > Governance > Benchers).
Election information package
Following the close of nominations on October 15 and by November 1, 2013, an election information package will be mailed to each eligible voter. In contested districts, the package will include a basic listing and photograph (if provided) of each candidate, together with a ballot, ballot envelope and return envelope. In uncontested districts, the package will include a notice identifying the candidates declared elected or acclaimed (see Rules 1-3(4) and 1-23).
Candidates’ biographies and election statements on Law Society website
Candidates’ biographical summaries and election statements will be posted on the Law Society website at lawsociety.bc.ca (under About Us > Governance > Benchers > Bencher Elections). The voting package will advertise this webpage link. Any lawyer who does not have internet access may request a print copy of the webpage biographical information by contacting Amy Tang at 604.443.5779 (toll-free in BC 1-800.903.5300) or email@example.com.
Benchers encourage diversity in candidates seeking office
The Benchers note that Aboriginal lawyers, solicitors, visible minority lawyers, women lawyers and young lawyers continue to be under-represented among elected Benchers. All lawyers who meet the qualifications for Bencher and want to contribute to the governance of the profession are encouraged to stand for election, but Aboriginal lawyers, visible minority lawyers, women lawyers, young lawyers and those practising predominantly in solicitors’ fields are particularly encouraged to do so. The Benchers believe that the Law Society’s mandate to protect the public interest in the administration of justice will be best served by leadership from diverse backgrounds and experience.