Highlights of amendments to the Legal Profession Act
Minor amendments were enacted to correct spelling errors (definition of "applicant" and sections 19(2), 20(1), 26.01(1), 30(4) and (8), 38(6), 39(1), 42(1) and 73(1)).
The Chartered Professional Accountants Act comes into force on June 24, 2015 and includes a minor amendment to section 61(8).
The Wills, Estates and Succession Act comes into force on March 31, 2014 and includes a minor amendment to the definition of "practice of law" in the Legal Profession Act.
January 1, 2013
The Legal Profession Amendment Act, 2012 received Royal Assent on May 14, 2012. Many amendments made by the new Act were effective immediately, and several more are yet to be proclaimed (see May 2012 below).
The following come into effect on January 1, 2013: definitions of "conduct unbecoming a lawyer" and "review board" (new) and sections 6, 9, 42, 44, 44.1 Application of Administrative Tribunals Act (new), 46 to 48 and 87 . The following sections were repealed: s. 31 Special Compensation Fund, s. 40 Medical examination and s. 45 Order for compliance. There is also a new section 50 Transition – Special compensation fund, a transitional provision of the Legal Profession Amendment Act, 2012.
See also “Highlights of the new Legal Profession Act” in the Summer 2012 Benchers’ Bulletin.
The Legal Profession Amendment Act, 2012 SBC 2012, c. 16 was passed by the BC Legislature on May 9, 2012 and has received Royal Assent. The amended legislation provides much-need updates to the 1998 Act and gives the Law Society the appropriate authority to regulate the legal profession in the public interest. Many amendments made by the new Act are now in effect; others will come into effect on proclamation, which will take place over several months. The amended sections in effect are: definitions of "law firm" and "practice of law," Part 1, ss. 3, 11, 12 and 13, Part 2, ss. 15, 17, 18, 21, 21.1, 23 and 24, Part 3, ss. 26, 26.01, 26.02, 27, 29, 30, 32 and 33, Part 4, ss. 36, 37.1, 38 and 39, Part 5, ss. 43 and 46, Part 7, s. 61, Part 8, ss. 64, 66 and 68, Part 9, s. 83, (Part 10, ss. 87, 88, 89 and 92 and Part 11, s. 93.
The Family Law Act, introduced and given Royal Assent in the Legislature in November 2011, includes a minor amendment to section 67(3) (Restrictions on contingent fee agreements) of the Legal Profession Act, and has been proclaimed in effect on March 18, 2013.
Effective July 1, 2010, the Act is amended as a result of the new Civil and Family Supreme Court Rules, which also take effect on July 1, 2010 (sections 44(2) and (4), 66(8), 68(9) and 70(13)).
The Wills, Estates and Succession Bill, introduced and given second reading in the Legislature in September 2009, includes a minor amendment to the definition of "practice of law" in the Legal Profession Act, but is not yet proclaimed in effect.
Amendments to the Provincial Court Act establishing the position of “part time judicial justice” (JJP) have resulted in two new sections to the Legal Profession Act. Section 1.1 clarifies that the Act does not apply to a person who is both a lawyer and a JJP while sitting as a JJP. Section 26.1 requires the Law Society to send written notification to the Chief Judge under the Provincial Court Act if the Society investigates a lawyer who is also a JJP.
Minor amendments are made to the Legal Profession Act effective December 1, as a result of the AG's Statutes Amendment Act, 2007 (s.1(1) definition of "respondent," s.8, s.12(1), s.25(1), s.47(5), s.48 and s.90).
Other amendments affecting sections 35 and 50 were recently enacted by the Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, 2007, but are not yet proclaimed in effect.
- Practice standards: The Benchers may make rules to permit the Practice Standards Committee to order conditions and limitations on lawyers’ practices (s. 27(2): p. 18); rules made under s. 27(2)(d.1) must not permit the imposition of conditions or limitations on a lawyer’s practice before that lawyer has been notified of the reasons for the proposed order and has been given reasonable opportunity to respond (s. 27(4)).
- Hearing powers: Panels and the Benchers are given powers to conduct hearings by reference to the Administrative Tribunals Act, rather than the Inquiry Act, which has now been repealed (ss. 44 and 45).
- Society requests for evidence ex juris: New section 45.1 permits the Law Society to apply to the Supreme Court of BC for a letter of request to judicial authorities to compel testimony from witnesses or production of documents outside BC.
- Quorum for Bencher reviews: A review may continue to a valid conclusion, provided that at least five Benchers remain to hear the review (s. 47(4.1)).
- Appointment of the Law Society as custodian: The Society may now be appointed as a custodian of a lawyer’s practice (ss. 50(1), 50.1 and 54(2)).