2015 Bencher election – call for nominations

September 8, 2015

Election date

An election will be held on Monday, November 16, 2015 for Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia in all districts for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2016 and ending December 31, 2017.

Nominations

To be valid, nominations of candidates for election must be received by the Law Society by 5:00 pm on Thursday, October 15, 2015. 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 Joni Hayden-Summerton, Executive Support Administrator, at 604.443.5750 (toll-free 1.800.903.5300) or jhayden-summerton@lsbc.org.

Law Society Rules

For information on the election of Benchers, see Rules 1-20 through 1-44. 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 Renee Collins Goult, Manager of Executive Support, at 604.443.5706 (toll-free 1.800.903.5300) or rcollinsgoult@lsbc.org.

Rules 1-22 and 1-23 outline the qualifications required of a candidate for election as a Bencher and the nomination process. Rule 1-21(1) describes the Bencher electoral districts into which the province is divided.

Pursuant to Rule 1-21(2), the number of Benchers to be elected from each district must be reduced by one for each Bencher from that district who holds office as First Vice-President, Second Vice-President or Second Vice-President-elect. Accordingly, the number of Benchers to be elected from the County of Vancouver (District No. 1) has been reduced from 13 to 11, because First Vice-President David Crossin, QC and Second-Vice President Herman Van Ommen, QC are each from Vancouver County. If Vancouver Bencher Miriam Kresivo, QC, the Benchers’ nominee for the office of Second Vice-President in 2016, is elected at the Annual General Meeting on October 14, 2015, that number will be further reduced from 11 to 10. Under Rule 1-5(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 participate in discipline and credentials hearings and reviews. 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 October 30, 2015, 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 candidates declared elected or acclaimed (see Rule 1-24).

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 by October 30, 2015. The voting package will advertise the webpage link. Any lawyer who does not have internet access may request a print copy of the webpage biographical information by contacting Joni Hayden-Summerton at 604.443.5750 (toll-free 1.800.903.5300) or jhayden-summerton@lsbc.org.

 

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.