Message from President Jan Lindsay, QC
Fast Track Pre-Registration
June 2, 2014
As there may be a significant turnout at all of the locations for this special general meeting, we are providing members with a fast track pre-registration process. For those who wish to avoid registration lineups on the day of the meeting, the fast track pre-registration form will permit you to obtain your voting card. You will need to sign and present the form, which will show your name and member number and states that, by presenting the form at the fast track registration desk, you are certifying you are the person named in the form. You will also be asked for some form of identification, such as a driver's licence, Law Society member card or business card.
If you want to print the fast track pre-registration form, please go to the Law Society website, log in and click on “Fast Track Pre-registration” link. Then print the form, sign it and bring it with you to the meeting.
Registration will remain open until the close of voting at 6 pm PDT.
If you have any difficulties obtaining the printed form, please contact 604.605.5335.
While voting at a general meeting is usually by a show of hands, as provided in Rule 1-11(16) I intend to order voting by paper ballot for the motion to adopt the resolution. This will accommodate a number of requests that voting remain open for a period of time after the vote is called. Voting will start once the question is called, and that time will be determined by the meeting itself. Once voting has started, you will be asked to exchange your voting card for a paper ballot, which you will then mark in a voting area and deposit in one of the available ballot boxes. Voting will remain open until 6 pm PDT at all locations and members may register for the meeting and vote up until that time.
Special General Meeting
There have been some questions about the import of the resolution should it pass at the special general meeting. Section 13 of the Legal Profession Act provides that a resolution of a general meeting is not binding on the Benchers except as provided in that section. If the resolution has not been substantially implemented by the Benchers within 12 months following the general meeting at which it was adopted and the executive director receives a petition signed by at least 5% of members in good standing of the society requesting a referendum on the resolution, a referendum of all members must be conducted. If at least 1/3 of the members vote in the referendum and 2/3 vote in favour, then the resolution is binding, provided that implementation would not constitute a breach of the Benchers' statutory duties.
This is a members' meeting convened to consider a resolution to require the Benchers to decide differently than they did on April 11. I would encourage all members who plan to attend the meeting and vote to review the transcript of the Bencher discussion and the webcast of the April 11 discussion and decision. Under Rule 2-27(4.1), a common law faculty of law is approved if it has been approved by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada unless the Benchers adopt a resolution declaring that it is not or has ceased to be an approved faculty of law. On April 11, a resolution that the proposed faculty of law at TWU is not an approved faculty of law was defeated by a 20 - 7 vote. The Benchers made their decision after a thoughtful and considered expression of views and careful consideration of reports, submissions and opinions and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in Trinity Western University v. British Columbia College of Teachers 2001 SCC 31. The Benchers have agreed that, because they have already considered and fully discussed the issue on April 11 which is now a matter of record, they will refrain from speaking to the resolution at the meeting in favour of having the members' voices, both for and against, fully heard.
Inquiries and Requests
We have received a significant number of inquiries and requests in relation to the upcoming special general meeting.
The most common inquiry has been a request for more locations to be added to the 16 identified in the Notice of Special General Meeting mailed out earlier this month. The Benchers have made significant efforts to accommodate members' interest in attending and voting on the special general meeting resolution. In addition to the main location in the Vancouver Convention Centre, they have approved 15 other locations around the province. For the most part, those other locations have reflected those at which the annual general meeting has been held. The Benchers understand that both the timing and the locations may not be convenient for all those who might wish to attend and vote on the resolution. However, with over 13,000 lawyers located throughout the province, the Benchers have done their best to reasonably accommodate as many as possible within the current Rules.
We have also been asked frequently about whether members can vote online or by proxy. The procedure regarding the conduct of general meetings is set out in Rules 1-7 and 1-9 through 1-11. In particular, Rule 1-11(15) requires that you be present at the meeting to be entitled to vote. Rule 1-11(17) provides that proxy voting is not permitted. However, as the Bencher message in the Notice of Special General Meeting indicated, in light of the current experience with this special general meeting, the Benchers will consider looking at a range of different options for future general meetings.
Although the Benchers' Message in the Notice of Special General Meeting indicated that the Chair would propose a time limit of three minutes for member speeches and that no member would speak for a second time on the same matter, the feedback on these proposals suggests I should not propose a specific time limit. Subject to the will of the meeting on June 10, speaking will be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, which provide a maximum of 10 minutes for each speaker and no more than two opportunities to speak for each speaker. I will, however, ask speakers to be mindful of others who may wish to speak at the meeting and try to avoid repeating points made by earlier speakers.