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Part 4 out of 11 parts in the Legal Profession Act

PART 4 – DISCIPLINE


Discipline rules

36 The benchers may make rules to do any of the following:

(a) establish a discipline committee and delegate any or all authority and responsibility under this Part, other than rule-making authority, to that committee;

(b) authorize an investigation of the books, records and accounts of a lawyer if there is reason to believe that the lawyer may have committed any misconduct, conduct unbecoming a lawyer or a breach of this Act or the rules;

 

Paragraph 36(b) is amended as follows (unproclaimed):

36 (b) authorize an investigation of the books, records and accounts of a lawyer or law firm if there is reason to believe that the lawyer or law firm may have committed any misconduct, conduct unbecoming the profession, or a breach of this Act or the rules;

[2012-16-24]


(c) authorize an examination of the books, records and accounts of a lawyer or law firm;

(d) require a lawyer or law firm to cooperate with an investigation or examination under paragraph (b) or (c), including producing records and other evidence and providing explanations on request;

(e) require a lawyer or articled student to appear before the benchers, a committee or other body to discuss the conduct or competence of the lawyer or articled student; 

(e.1) require a representative of a law firm to appear before the benchers, a committee or other body to discuss the conduct of the firm;

(f) authorize the ordering of a hearing into the conduct or competence of a lawyer or an articled student, or the conduct of a law firm, by issuing a citation;

(g) authorize the rescission of a citation; 

(h) permit the benchers to summarily suspend or disbar a lawyer convicted of an offence that was proceeded with by way of indictment or convicted in another jurisdiction of an offence that, in the opinion of the benchers, is equivalent to an offence that may be proceeded with by way of indictment.

(i) establish a process for the protection of the privacy and the severing, destruction or return of personal, business or other records that are unrelated to an investigation or examination and that, in error or incidentally, form part of

(i) the books, records or accounts of a lawyer, an articled student or a law firm authorized to be investigated or examined under a rule made under paragraph (b) or section 26, or

(ii) files or other records that are seized in accordance with an order of the Supreme Court under section 37.

[2012-16-24]


Search and seizure

37 (1) The society may apply to the Supreme Court for an order that the files or other records, wherever located, of or relating to a lawyer or articled student be seized from the person named in the order, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a lawyer or articled student may have committed or will commit any

(a) misconduct,

(b) conduct unbecoming a lawyer, or

(c) breach of this Act or the rules.

 

Section 37(1) is amended as follows (unproclaimed):

37 (1) The society may apply to the Supreme Court for an order that the files or other records, wherever located, of or relating to a lawyer, an articled student or a law firm be seized from the person named in the order, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a lawyer, articled student or law firm may have committed or will commit

(a) any misconduct,

(b) conduct unbecoming the profession, or

(c) a breach of this Act or the rules.

[2012-16-25]


(2) An application under subsection (1) may be made without notice to anyone or on such notice as the judge requires.

(3) If the application under subsection (1) is in relation to the conduct of an articled student, the order may be made in respect of the books, accounts, files or other records of the student's principal or the principal's firm.

(4) In an application under subsection (1), the person making the application must state on oath or affirmation the grounds for believing the matter referred to in subsection (1) and the grounds for believing that the seizure will produce evidence relevant to that matter.

(5) In an order under subsection (1), the court may

(a) designate the person who will conduct the seizure and authorize that person to conduct it,

(b) state the time and place where the seizure will take place, and

(c) give any other directions that are necessary to carry out the seizure.

Personal records in investigation or seizure

37.1 In conducting an investigatoin or examination of books, records or accounts under section 26 or rules made under section 36 (b) or in the seizure of files or other records in accordance with an order of the Supreme Court under section 37, the society may collect personal information unrelated to the investigation or examination that, in error or incidentally, is contained in those books, accounts, files or records, but the society must, subject to rules made under section 36(i),

(a) return that personal information if and as soon as practicable, or

(b) destroy the personal information.

[2012-16-26]

Discipline hearings

38 (1) This section applies to the hearing of a citation.

(2) A hearing must be conducted before a panel.

(3) A panel must

(a) make a determination and take action according to this section,

(b) give written reasons for its determination about the conduct or competence of the respondent and any action taken against the respondent, and

(c) record in writing any order for costs.

(4) After a hearing, a panel must do one of the following:

(a) dismiss the citation;

(b) determine that the respondent has committed one or more of the following:

(i) professional misconduct;

(ii) conduct unbecoming a lawyer;

(iii) a breach of this Act or the rules;

(iv) incompetent performance of duties undertaken in the capacity of a lawyer;

(v) if the respondent is not a member, conduct that would, if the respondent were a member, constitute professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a lawyer, or a breach of this Act or the rules.

(c) [repealed]

 

Paragraphs 38(4)(b)(ii) and (v) are amended as follows (unproclaimed):

38 (4) After a hearing, a panel must do one of the following: ...

(b) determine that the respondent has committed one or more of the following: ...

(ii) conduct unbecoming the profession; ...

(v) if the respondent is an individual who is not a member of the society, conduct that would, if the respondent were a member, constitute professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming the profession, or a breach of this Act or the rules.

[2012-16-27]

 

(5) If an adverse determination is made against a respondent other than an articled student, under subsection (4), the panel must do one or more of the following:

(a) reprimand the respondent;

(b) fine the respondent an amount not exceeding $50 000;

(c) impose conditions or limitations on the respondent's practice;

(d) suspend the respondent from the practice of law or from practice in one or more fields of law

(i) for a specified period of time,

(ii) until the respondent fulfills a condition imposed under paragraph (c) or subsection (7) or complies with a requirement under paragraph (f) of this subsection,

(iii) from a specified date until the respondent fulfills a condition imposed under paragraph (c) or subsection (7) or complies with a requirement under paragraph (f) of this subsection, or

(iv) for a specific minimum period of time and until the respondent fulfills a condition imposed under paragraph (c) or subsection (7) or complies with a requirement under paragraph (f) of this subsection;

(e) disbar the respondent;

(f) require the respondent to do one or more of the following:

(i) complete a remedial program to the satisfaction of the practice standards committee;

(ii) appear before a board of examiners appointed by the panel or by the practice standards committee and satisfy the board that the respondent is competent to practise law or to practise in one or more fields of law;

(iii) appear before a board of examiners appointed by the panel or by the practice standards committee and satisfy the board that the respondent's competence to practise law is not adversely affected by a physical or mental disability, or dependency on alcohol or drugs;

(iv) practise law only as a partner, employee or associate of one or more other lawyers;

(g) prohibit a respondent who is not a member but who is permitted to practise law under a rule made under section 16(2) (a) or 17 (1) (a) from practising law in British Columbia indefinitely or for a specified period of time.

 

Section 38(5) preamble is amended as follows (unproclaimed):

38 (5) If an adverse determination is made under subsection (4) against a respondent other than an articled student or a law firm, the panel mustdo one or more of the following: ...

[2012-16-27]

 

(6) If an adverse determination is made under subsection (4) against an articled student, the panel may do one or more of the following:

(a) reprimand the articled student;

(b) fine the articled student an amount not exceeding $5 000;

(c) extend the period that the articled student is required to serve under articles;

(d) set aside the enrolment of the articled student.

 

Section 38(6.1) is added as follows (unproclaimed):

38 (6.1) If an adverse determination is made under subsection (4) against a law firm, the panel may do one or both of the following:

(a) reprimand the law firm;

(b) fine the law firm an amount not exceeding $50 000.

[2012-16-27]

 

(7) In addition to its powers under subsections (5) and (6), a panel may make any other orders and declarations and impose any conditions it considers appropriate.

 

Section 38(7) is amended as follows (unproclaimed):

38 (7) In addition to its powers under subsections (5), (6) and (6.1), a panel may make any other orders and declarations and impose any conditions or limitations it considers appropriate.

[2012-16-27]

 

(8) A fine imposed under this Act may be recovered as a debt owing to the society and, when collected, it is the property of the society.

(9) For the purpose of recovering a debt under subsection (8), the executive director may

(a) issue a certificate stating that the fine is due, the amount remaining unpaid, including interest, and the name of the person required to pay it, and

(b) file the certificate with the Supreme Court.

(10) A certificate filed under subsection (9) with the Supreme Court is of the same effect, and proceedings may be taken on it, as if it were a judgment of the Supreme Court for the recovery of a debt in the amount stated against the person named in it.  

[2012-16-27; 2016-5-41] 


Suspension

39 (1) The benchers may make rules permitting 3 or more benchers to do any of the following until the decision of a hearing panel or other disposition of the subject matter of the hearing:

(a) suspend a respondent who is an individual, if the respondent's continued practice would be dangerous to the public or the respondent's clients;

(b) impose conditions or limitations on the practice of a respondent who is an individual;

(c) suspend the enrolment of a respondent who is an articled student;

(d) impose conditions or limitations on the enrolment of a respondent who is an articled student.

(2) Rules made under subsection (1) must

(a) provide for a proceeding to take place before an order is made,

(b) set out the term of a suspension, condition or limitation, and

(c) provide for review of an order made under subsection (1) and for confirmation, variation or rescission of the order.

(3) Rules made under this section may provide for practice and procedure for a matter referred to in subsection (2) (a) and (c) and may specify that some or all practices and procedures in those proceedings may be determined by the benchers who are  present at the proceeding.

[2012-16-28; 2016-5-41]


40 [repealed 2012-16-29] 

 

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Part 4 out of 11 parts in the Legal Profession Act