New Bencher Elected
January's Convocation began with the election of new bencher, Christopher Bredt, to fill the vacancy, created by Carole Curtis's appointment as a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, in the number of benchers elected from the Province of Ontario "A" Electoral Region (the City of Toronto) on the basis of the votes cast by all electors.
Lawyers to be consulted on proposals for skills and articling components of Licensing Process
The Licensing and Accreditation Task Force received approval to consult lawyers on its proposals for the skills and articling components of the Licensing Process.
The Task Force will seek lawyers' comments on its proposal to discontinue the Law Society's skills and professional responsibility program. The Task Force recommendation is based on a number of factors including research illustrating that law school skills programs cover most of the content of the Law Society program and that there are other more effective means to address gaps.
The Task Force is also proposing to consult on a number of options to address concerns with the current articling program, particularly the increasing shortage of articling placements. Options for consultation include:
- Continue the current program with clear communications that not all candidates will be able to secure an articling position and will therefore not be called to the bar;
- Develop an alternative stream for candidates unable to find a placement;
- Abolish the articling requirement.
The Task Force will also invite those consulted to offer any other options they consider appropriate.
For more information see the Licensing and Accreditation Task Force Report .
Law Society strongly supports Civil Justice Reform Project Report
The Law Society of Upper Canada strongly supports the overall approach to increasing access to justice proposed in the Summary of Findings and Recommendations Report of the Civil Justice Reform Project.
Applicants for a paralegal licence may not also be licensed as a lawyer
By-Law 4 was amended to provide that lawyer licensees, including those whose licences are suspended, may not also be licensed as a paralegal. This reflects the new licensing regime whereby a licence to practise law (for lawyers) and a licence to provide legal services (for paralegals) are separate.
For more information see the Professional Regulation Report and motion to amend By-Law 4 .
New By-Laws and Rules on obligations of licensees whose licences have been suspended
Convocation approved by-law and rule amendments that set out the obligations of licensees whose licences are suspended or who are subject to other restrictions on practice. The amendments to By-Laws 7.1 and 9, rule 6.07 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and rule 6.01 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct incorporate provisions of the Society's "Guidelines for Suspended, Resigned or Disbarred Members and Members Who Have Given an Undertaking Not To Practise".
In addition to the amendments, the Guidelines have been replaced with updated versions that discuss the obligations of lawyers and paralegals, with reference to the by-laws and Rules. Four new sets of Guidelines, presented to Convocation for information, describe the mandatory activities, prohibited activities and permitted activities for paralegal and lawyer licensees whose licences have been suspended or revoked.
See the Paralegal Standing Committee Report and Professional Regulation Committee Report for more information.
Law Society to continue contributions to the painting of portraits of Chief Justices
Convocation voted to reverse a previous policy decision and continue its long tradition of contributing to the painting of portraits of Chief Justices of the Superior Court and Chief Justices of Ontario. The portraits will be added to the Law Society's extensive collection, one of the most significant portrait collections in the province.
For more information see the Heritage Committee Report .
By-Law 5 amended
By-Law 5 [Annual Fee] were amended to include paralegal fee categories approved at September 2007 Convocation.
For more information see Finance Committee Report , motion to amend By-Law 4 , motion to amend By-Law 5 and September 2007 Paralegal Standing Committee Report .
Rule 2 of Rules of Professional Conduct amended
A housekeeping amendment was made to the commentary of subrule 2.04 (10.3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
For more information see Professional RegulationReport .
Bencher Carol Hartman was appointed to the Board of Directors of LibraryCo as the Law Society's representative. Bencher Susan Hare was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Attracting New Child Protection Lawyers. Bencher Christopher Bredt was appointed to the Hearing Panel.