BC lawyers will vote on next year’s practice fee at the AGM

Law Society AGM to be held September 29

Annual General MeetingThe Law Society Annual General Meeting takes place on Friday, September 29, 2006. All BC lawyers and articled students are invited to attend the meeting at the main location in Vancouver or at one of the teleconference locations around the province. Please watch for details.

The Benchers have decided that the 2007 practice fee, which is set by members in 2006, will be put forward to the Law Society AGM for a vote. The fee has traditionally been set at the AGM, other than in the past two years when it was set by referendum.

In 2004 the Benchers found it necessary to hold a referendum on the fee, which is an alternative to a resolution at the AGM permitted under section 23(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act. The referendum made it easier for all members to address a matter of longstanding controversy, that is, whether payment of an amount equivalent to the Canadian Bar Association membership fee should be mandatory or voluntary for all practising lawyers. A majority of lawyers in the referendum voted in favour of a practice fee that did not contain a CBA fee component.

Since the 2004 referendum, the CBA has expressed its intention not to propose its fee as a component of the Law Society practice fee. The Benchers held a referendum in 2005 to set the 2006 practice fee, without the CBA fee being at issue, and have now concluded they should not continue to incur the expense of an annual fee referendum. For that reason, the practice fee — which the Benchers will recommend to the profession in July — returns as an item of business on the AGM agenda.