E-Brief: July 2014

Benchers to consider results of special general meeting at September 26 meeting

At their July 11 meeting, the Benchers received the following two notices of motion, regarding the proposed faculty of law at Trinity Western University.

Motion 1:

BE IT RESOLVED that the Benchers implement the resolution of the members passed at the June 10, 2014 special general meeting, and declare that the proposed law school at Trinity Western University is not an approved faculty of law for the purposes of the Law Society’s admissions program.

Motion 2:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

1. A referendum (the "Referendum") be conducted of all members of the Law Society of British Columbia (the "Law Society") to vote on the following resolution:

"Resolved that the Benchers implement the resolution of the members passed at the special general meeting of the Law Society held on June 10, 2014, and declare that the proposed law school at Trinity Western University is not an approved faculty of law for the purpose of the Law Society's admissions program."

Yes __________ No __________ (the "Resolution")

2. The Resolution will be binding and will be implemented by the Benchers if at least:

(a) 1/3 of all members in good standing of the Law Society vote in the Referendum; and

(b) 2/3 of those voting vote in favour of the Resolution.

3. The Benchers hereby determine that implementation of the Resolution does not constitute a breach of their statutory duties, regardless of the results of the Referendum.

4. The Referendum be conducted as soon as possible and that the results of the Referendum be provided to the members by no later than October 30, 2014.

If adopted by the Benchers, motion 2 would result in a referendum of members of the Law Society. If the thresholds set out in part two of motion 2 are achieved, then the referendum will be binding on and will be implemented by the Benchers.

It is expected the motions will be debated at the September 26 Benchers meeting. If the Benchers pass motion 2, the referendum ballots would be returnable on or before October 29.

If a referendum is held, in order to vote members must be in good standing when the Law Society finalizes the voting list on September 24. See the definition of "member in good standing" here. If you have questions in this regard, please contact the member services department here.

The Benchers are also accepting written submissions from anyone wanting to provide input or information to assist them with their decisions. The deadline for submissions is September 3. Submissions may be sent by email to submissions@lsbc.org or by mail to The Law Society of BC - Attention: Executive Director, 845 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 4Z9. All submissions will be identified by the name and date of submission and made public on the Law Society website as they are received. Anonymous submissions will not be considered or posted.

Please refer to the Law Society website for further important information and details regarding the upcoming September 26 Bencher meeting, including a legal opinion addressing certain issues arising from the special general meeting, as well as submissions, which will be posted as they are received.

Benchers approve more funding for REAL program

The Benchers have approved $50,000 in additional funding for the Rural Education and Access to Lawyers Initiative to address the shortage of lawyers practising in smaller communities throughout British Columbia. The REAL Initiative is delivered by the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch and made possible by funding from the Law Society, the CBA BC Branch, and the Law Foundation of BC.

Law Firm Regulation Task Force created

The Benchers have approved the creation of the Law Firm Regulation Task Force to consider possible models for law firm regulation in British Columbia. The authority for law firm regulation comes from amendments to the Legal Profession Act passed in 2012. The task force is expected to consult widely with BC lawyers, other regulatory experts, and legal regulatory bodies in other jurisdictions. The task force will consider the results of its research and analysis with a view to reporting to the Benchers on its findings in 2015.

Fraud Alert: request to replace a trust cheque - eDeposit scam

The Law Society is cautioning lawyers to be aware of a scam involving trust cheques. In this particular scam, a client returns a paper trust cheque to a lawyer and asks to have it replaced with a series of smaller trust cheques, or transfer the funds electronically. The client may have a photo of the front and back of the original trust cheque, so that it may be deposited electronically at a later time in an attempt to be paid twice. To avoid this scam, lawyers are asked to speak with their financial institution, or contact a Law Society practice advisor or auditor.

Legal Research Fund announced

The Law Foundation of BC has established a fund of $100,000 per year to support legal research in British Columbia. The fund is available for projects that "advance the knowledge of law, social policy, and the administration of justice." More information is available on the Law Foundation website.

2013 financial statements online

The Law Society's 2013 audited financial statements are now available online.

From the courts

The BC Supreme Court Rules Revision Committee has issued an invitation to the profession to comment on a submission from the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia proposing a rule change to permit a person who is being examined under Rule 7-6 to audio record the examination. More information can be found on the BC Supreme Court website under Announcements.

The BC Supreme Court has announced a family law pilot project, which will be implemented on September 2.

The BC Court of Appeal has updated two of its practice directives.

The Registrar for the BC Court of Appeal has updated the practice note titled Court Sittings in Kamloops and Kelowna.


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