E-Brief: October 2015
Nomination deadline for Bencher election is October 15
An election will be held on November 16, 2015 for Benchers of the Law Society in all districts for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2016 and ending December 31, 2017. Nominations of candidates for election must be received by the Law Society by 5:00 pm on Thursday, October 15, 2015. For more information on the election and the nomination process, or to download a nomination form, see the Notice to the Profession.
Benchers approve 2016 fees
The Benchers have approved the 2016 practice fee and insurance fee, as recommended by the Finance and Audit Committee. The committee based its recommendation on a thorough review of the Law Society's financial position, its statutory mandate and strategic plan. The total annual mandatory fee for practising, insured lawyers for 2016 will be $3,807.09, a 1.7% increase over 2015. The practice fee will increase by $65.09 to $2,057.09 and the insurance assessment will remain the same at $1,750. For more information and a detailed breakdown and explanation of the 2016 fees, read the Notice to the Profession.
Annual general meeting on October 14
The Law Society's 2015 annual general meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. Registration starts at 11:30 am and the meeting begins at 12:30 pm. Business of the meeting includes the election of the 2016 second vice-president, an overview of 2016 fees and the appointment of the Law Society's auditors for 2015. For details about the agenda, a list of conference locations and information on the webcast, please see the Notice to the Profession.
Reviewing and improving the tribunal and discipline process
In May 2014, the Benchers struck the Tribunal Program Review Task Force to review the changes to the tribunal system implemented since 2011. The task force was formed to review the progress of changes to the tribunal system, suggest improvements and identify any further reforms for consideration. At their September meeting, the Benchers accepted all but three of the nine recommendations as presented in the task force report. Recommendations to allow non-Benchers to chair a hearing panel when no Bencher is available and to approve an independent non-Bencher chair of the tribunal were rejected. Recommendation five was accepted with an amendment changing experience required to qualify to chair a panel from five hearings to two.
Law Firm Regulation Task Force to seek input
As announced in the Fall 2015 Benchers' Bulletin, the Law Firm Regulation Task Force is completing a consultation paper and will be conducting a survey with lawyers across the province. The task force is seeking input from the profession on developing a framework for the regulation of law firms. In the next few weeks, the paper and survey will be circulated. Your input is important. Please consider and review the materials and respond to the survey when they arrive.
Benchers strike Legal Aid Task Force
Also at the September meeting, the Benchers created the Legal Aid Task Force to develop the Law Society's vision concerning publicly funded legal aid and to consider new ways for lawyers to deliver legal services through legal aid plans. The task force will also coordinate with other organizations to more efficiently use and improve resources.
Diversity and Inclusion Award
The Benchers have established a new Diversity and Inclusion Award to honour individuals who have made significant contributions to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession or the law in British Columbia over the previous two years. At their September meeting, the Benchers approved the nomination process and selection criteria. Watch the Law Society website for details on nominations and deadlines.
Add your profile for collaborative online legal education
The Law Society's Online Learning Centre continues to make learning more collaborative. The website now offers lawyers the ability to create and share profiles. Add a photo, your biography or other information about your practice. To access, log in to the website, select “Your Account” in the menu in the left margin, and then click the “Edit” tab. You can log in by entering your email address and password or create a new account at http://www.learnlsbc.ca/.
Failure to protect digital signature can have disciplinary consequences
Juricert is the certification authority operated by the Law Society and provides lawyers with password-protected digital signatures to file land title documents electronically. One of the terms and conditions of Juricert registration is the obligation to maintain the security of the digital signature; read the Discipline advisory.
Land Title Practice Note on the cancellations of discriminating covenants
The director of land titles notes that, although section 222 of the Land Title Act declares that discriminating covenants are void and of no effect, some such covenants can still appear in the land title records. The continued presence of such covenants in the records can sometimes lead to the false impression that they still have effect. To correct those impressions and ensure that land title records are accurate, the LTSA issued a Practice Note that sets out actions the registrar will take to update land title records to make it clear that the covenants are cancelled. The process does not require an application, and does not require payment of a fee. Lawyers are encouraged to bring any such covenants they may encounter to the attention of the registrar.
Call for QC nominations
The BC Ministry of Justice is accepting nominations until October 30, 2015 for Queen's Counsel appointments. Queen's Counsel appointments recognize BC lawyers who have made exceptional contributions to the legal profession. For more, see the ministry website.
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