From the Solicitors’ Legal Opinions Committee

The Solicitors’ Legal Opinions Committee of British Columbia (SLOC) is not a committee of the Law Society or any other body.

SLOC was constituted in 1987 for the broad purpose of reviewing opinion materials and preparing guides for British Columbia. SLOC comments on major issues that disrupt legal opinion practice from time to time by advising the profession of such issues and of what the committee considers to be the general practice in relation to such issues in British Columbia.

Rather than suggest “standardization,” SLOC attempts the often amorphous and always difficult process of developing a consensus on opinion issues and guidelines on ethical and professional issues related to negotiating and preparing opinions in British Columbia.

Members of SLOC represent themselves and not their firms on the committee, although members are expected to draw information from their firms, pass drafts for comment through their firms, and influence opinion practice within their firms and within the profession.

The statements and sample opinions of SLOC have been published and made available by the committee over time in a variety of ways. The statements and sample opinions to date are listed in the index below and can be accessed through the index.

SLOC’s purpose in this current publication is to provide these materials in the hope that they will be useful in opinion practice. SLOC retains copyright to the statements and sample opinions but has from time to time granted a non-exclusive licence to specific organizations to publish the materials. In all cases, such right to publish has been non-exclusive and dependent upon the whole of the committee's relevant statements with accompanying sample opinions, side notes and footnotes being included in their entirety, without alteration or exclusion.

These materials are provided as guides and aids to discussion of opinion practice, they are not formal or authoritative and the Law Society and SLOC, its members and the firms to which the members might at any time belong are not responsible or liable to any person or firm that uses or relies on these materials.

Statements and sample opinions

  1. Statement of the Solicitors’ Legal Opinions Committee Concerning Legal Opinions: Standard Form Security Instruments, adopted 2 May 1989 and published in the Benchers’ Bulletin, 1989: No. 10 November
  2. Model Form of Opinion for Standard Form Security Instruments (download Word format)
  3. The Silverado Accord including Certain Guidelines, adopted August 1992 and distributed by the Law Society in October 1992 
  4. Statement re Real Estate, adopted October 2014 
  5. Model Form of Real Estate Opinion (Fee Simple Title) (download Word format), adopted October 2014
  6. Model Form of Real Estate Opinion (Title held by a Nominee) (download Word format), adopted October 2014
  7. Statement re Commercial Opinion, adopted 1 May 2007 
  8. Model Form of Commercial Opinion (download Word format), adopted 1 May 2007
  9. Statement - Addendum to Commercial Opinion re: Foreign Law, adopted 10 February 2011 
  10. Model Form of Addendum to Commercial Opinion re Foreign Law (download Word format), adopted 10 February 2011
  11. Suggested Protocols for Virtual Closings, adopted 15 July 2014 
  12. Model Form of Addendum to Commercial Opinion re Limited Partnerships (download Word format), adopted May 2017

In appreciation

Sandra D. Sutherland, QC chaired SLOC for over 30 years, from its establishment in 1988 until 2018. Sandra brought a dedicated exactness to committee deliberations, always searching for the correct words and reviewing published sources. She was responsible for most of the comments to the opinions posted on this web page. Sandra wrote several of the earliest papers in BC on legal opinions in commercial transaction, and organized and chaired several continuing legal education programs on the subject. When challenged on her refusal to provide an opinion with the words “but you are getting paid for it,” she is reported to have said “my opinion is not for sale.”  Sandra believes that in both requesting and responding to requests for opinion coverage, parties should be guided by ethical behaviour and professionalism. She strongly advocated the “Golden Rule” of opinion giving and adoption of Guidelines for the Preparation of Closing prepared by the Committee on Legal Opinions of the ABA's Section of Business Law. These subjects are covered  in Statement 3 of the The Silverado Accord including Certain Guidelines, distributed by the Law Society in 1992. The committee and all BC lawyers have greatly benefited from her dedication and guidance, and the materials on this web page reflect her work for over three decades.

John Lundell, QC – Many respected, practising solicitors have contributed to SLOC and its work, but no one has been more illustrious or contributed more to opinion practice than John Lundell, QC, who began his work in 1977 with a paper on opinion practice in BC and served on the committee until he passed away in 2010. John had an astonishing knowledge of the law and a sharp intellect which, combined with his humble nature and his gentle professional manner, drew many within the legal community to consult him, to rely on him, and inevitably to be swayed by his views on the ethical and professional issues that concern us all.

Members of the Solicitors’ Legal Opinions Committee – July 2020

  • Anne M. Stewart, QC – Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Chair
  • John Anderson – Stikeman Elliott LLP
  • Don Bird Borden – Ladner Gervais LLP
  • Stephen Curran – McCarthy T├ętrault LLP
  • Mitchell H. Gropper, QC – Farris LLP
  • Greg Lewis, QC – Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP
  • Carol Liao – Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • Michael Low – Lawson Lundell LLP
  • Michael (Mitch) McCormick
  • John D. Morrison – McMillan LLP
  • Jill Pereira – McMillan LLP
  • Mark Schmidt – DLA Piper LLP
  • Ron Stuber – Dentons Canada LLP
  • Shauna Towriss – Cassels Brock LLP
  • Bruce Woolley, QC