2010 Referendum:
Proposal to amend the Law Society Rules to permit the electronic distribution of audited financial statements

October 15, 2010

The referendum question

At their September 2010 meeting the Benchers resolved that a referendum of the members be held on whether the Benchers may amend Rule 1-6 to allow distribution of the audited financial statements to members electronically rather than by traditional mail.

Why is a referendum needed?

Under section 12(3) of the Legal Profession Act, the Benchers require membership approval before amending certain rules — including the rules relating to annual general meetings — by a two-thirds majority vote of the members voting in a referendum.

The issue

Rule 1-6(8)(b) requires the Law Society to mail to each member, not less than 21 days before an annual general meeting, an audited financial statement of the Law Society for the previous calendar year.

It has become quite common for organizations to distribute their financial statements electronically rather than on paper. Some lawyers have expressed concern that the Law Society is still printing and distributing paper copies of the financial statements.

This year, the cost of printing and distributing the audited financial statements to every Law Society member exceeded $20,000. It is the Benchers’ view that making the financial statements available to lawyers electronically would be more cost-effective, timely and environmentally friendly.

What is the referendum process?

A referendum information sheet, referendum ballot and return envelope will be mailed to all members later this month.

Only those referendum ballots that are completed and returned to the Executive Director of the Law Society by 5:00 pm on Friday, November 12, 2010 will be eligible to be counted.