E-Brief: April 2015

Benchers establish working groups to examine possible regulatory merger with the Notaries Society and legislative amendments

At the April meeting, the Benchers established two working groups to examine preliminary matters regarding the possible regulatory merger with the Society of Notaries Public of BC, and a proposed legislative amendment to the Legal Profession Act on the scope of the Law Society's regulatory function. This follows the endorsement of the recommendations set out in the Legal Service Providers Task Force Final Report (December 2013), and the Report of the Legal Services Regulatory Framework Task Force (December 2014). One working group will examine the skills and knowledge required to provide the additional legal services the notaries would like to provide and make recommendations about the educational and experiential requirements. The second working group will be looking at issues of governance. It is expected that both working groups will report back to the Benchers in June. To read the Memorandum of Understanding with the Society of Notaries Public of BC, and other related material, please refer to the President's blog.

Update from the Law Firm Regulation Task Force

The Law Firm Regulation Task Force, whose mandate is to develop a framework for the regulation of law firms, has begun its work. The lawyer-firm relationship involves aspects of proximity, responsibility and interdependence. As such, law firms can be especially significant entities for effective regulation of the legal profession. At the same time, some activities of law firms may transcend the responsibility of any individual lawyer and thus need to be regulated separately. The task force recognizes that in developing a framework for law firm regulation, it must be responsive to the realities of legal practice in firms of various sizes, geographical locations and practice areas. Before any final decisions are made, the profession will be consulted to assist the task force in developing an appropriate and practical framework for regulation of law firms.

Revision and consolidation of Law Society Rules

At their April meeting, the Benchers adopted revised and consolidated Law Society Rules, to come into effect July 1, 2015. The revision will eliminate decimal numbering, verify and update cross-references, add marginal notes to cross-references to aid recognition, and ensure consistency and economy of language, among other changes. A draft copy of the rules can be found here.

In memoriam: Benjimen Meisner

On April 2, Appointed Bencher Benjimen Meisner passed away after a short battle with cancer and pneumonia. He was 76. Ben was a valued member of the Law Society Bencher table. During his tenure, he was a member of the Law Society's Credentials Committee and Unauthorized Practice Committee. Originally from Saskatchewan, Ben worked for nearly 60 years in the media as a news reporter, writer and, for much of his career, a talk show host. In his final days Ben had said that he would be greatly honoured by a "Life Bencher" designation, given his strong attachment and love for his Bencher colleagues and the Law Society. President Ken Walker, QC bestowed that honour on Ben the day before he died.

Don't get caught – first limitation under the new Limitation Act expires June 1, 2015

The first limitation under the new Limitation Act will expire in less than two months. Act now to protect your clients so that you don't get caught. Read the information on our website, and incorporate the "Ten tips to beat the reset clock" into your practice. And don't forget to refer to our Quick Reference List, a convenient three-page chart that will help you flag and diarize a variety of limitations for all of your client matters. A total of 64 lawyers have already reported a missed limitation this year. Don’t let the new Limitation Act turn you into another statistic.

From the Courts

The Supreme Court of BC has issued an administrative notice regarding Bankruptcy Proceedings before a Registrar in Bankruptcy.

The 2014 Annual Report of the Supreme Court of BC is now available.

The Provincial Court of BC has issued a notice regarding the start time of afternoon Assignment Court lists.

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