March 2007

Paralegal Rules of Conduct established
New Rules of Conduct for Paralegals were approved at March Convocation. The Rules are based on the existing Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers and on principles found in the 2004 Report of the Task Force on Paralegal Regulation, as well input received from stakeholders.

The Rules are structured around obligations to various parties including general duties and duties to the client, the tribunal, other licensees and to the Society.

The Paralegal Standing Committee focussed on the following principles when drafting the rules:

  • Consistency with the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers
  • Focus on the ethical and professional obligations of paralegals
  • Clarity and accessibility for paralegals and the public
  • Ability to enforce the rules within a fair and transparent process.

A practice guideline to the Rules will be developed as an explanatory aid.

See Paralegal Standing Committee report for more information.


Changes to LibraryCo set forward focussed path
A series of changes to LibraryCo, approved at March Convocation, set out the next steps in the advancement of the delivery of library services. The changes were proposed by a working group of representatives of the Law Society, the County and District Law Presidents' Association, and the Toronto Lawyers Association.

Highlights of the changes include the inclusion of the Great Library in the LibraryCo system and greater coordination between the Great Library and the Toronto Lawyers Association Library. The guiding principles of the corporation were revised to include recognition of the importance of centralized points of access to resources (the physical law library) and to reflect the value of consultation in decision making. The board of LibraryCo was also reduced from 15 to 8 members.

The County and District Law Presidents' Association previously voted in favour of the proposals.

Convocation also reappointed the current Law Society representatives to board. The current appointees are Abraham Feinstein, Paul Henderson, Ross Murray and Gerald Swaye.

See the Professional Development, Competence and Admissions Committee report for more information.

Clare Lewis, Q.C. reappointed as Complaints Resolution Commissioner
Convocation reappointed Clare Lewis, Q.C., as Complaints Resolution Commissioner (CRC) for a three-year term. Mr. Lewis was first appointed to the position in February 2005.

 

Licensing by-law for paralegals and lawyers approved in principle
A licensing by-law that includes the new licensing process for paralegals and updates the language for the current lawyer licensing process to reflect the amended Law Society Act was approved, in principle, by Convocation. The official by-law will be presented for approval at a future meeting of Convocation.

See Paralegal Standing Committee report for more information.


Task Force on Licensing and Accreditation established
A new Task Force on Licensing and Accreditation is set to examine a number of issues relevant to the licensing and accreditation of lawyers.

According to its terms of reference, the Task Force will:

  • undertake an analysis of the most effective ways for the Law Society's established competency requirements to be achieved within the pre-and-post-call legal education continuum;
  • review the criteria for approving law degrees; and
  • analyze the impact of increased numbers of applicants for admission to the bar from domestic and international sources.

Convocation also approved a budget of $50,000 for the task force for 2007 including $30,000 for consultation expenses and $20,000 for research.

See the Professional Development, Competence and Admissions Committee and the Finance and Audit Committee reports for more information.


Priority Planning Committee established
Convocation approved the recommendations of the Governance Task Force, including the establishment of a Priority Planning Committee and a priority planning process.

The Priority Planning Committee will assist Convocation by recommending policy priorities for Convocation's approval. The Task Force recommended a formal structure for planning and prioritizing Convocation's policy agenda to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Convocation and to integrate priority setting with the budget process. The Priority Planning Committee will also be responsible for tracking the status of Convocation's priorities.

Convocation also approved the recommendation to create an Audit Committee and a Finance Committee, to replace the existing Finance and Audit Committee, and a policy whereby benchers whose rights and privileges as members of the Society are suspended are not permitted to participate in Convocation for the duration of the suspension.

The Governance Task Force was established in March 2006 to consider and recommend to Convocation improvements to the corporate governance of the Law Society.

For more information see the Governance Task Force report .


Policy for exemptions from regulation approved
Convocation approved a preliminary policy exempting certain persons from regulation under the Law Society's expanded mandate to regulate the delivery of all legal services. The exemptions are in addition to exclusions placed in the Law Society Act by Bill 14. The criteria for exemptionare based on need and appropriateness. The Paralegal Standing Committee will continue to consider additional requests for exemption and make further recommendations to Convocation if appropriate.

See Paralegal Standing Committee report for more information.


New by-law requirement will permit the Law Society to suspend lawyers for failure to pay LAWPRO deductible
Convocation approved a policy for a new by-law that will require members to pay the LAWPRO deductible when obliged to do so. Once the by-law is approved, the Law Society will have the authority to summarily suspend a member for breaching the obligation.

See the Professional Regulation Committee report for more information.


Convocation authorizes Treasurer to vote the proxy in favour of proposed LAWPRO shareholder resolutions
Convocation authorized the Treasurer to vote the proxy in favour of proposed LAWPRO shareholder resolutions at the Annual and General Meeting of Shareholders of the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company to be held April 25, 2007.

See the Treasurer's Report to Convocation for more information.


Proposed revisions to Regulation 30/99 approved
Convocation approved a series of proposed amendments to Ontario Regulation 30/99 which addresses hearings before the Hearing Panel. The revisions include changes as a result of the passage of Bill 14 - The Access to Justice Act as well as a number of amendments reflecting the Law Society's experience with the Hearing and Appeal Panels since the Regulation was originally drafted. The revisions are to be recommended to the Ministry of the Attorney General for approval by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council.

See the Tribunals Committee report for more information.


Errors and Omissions Insurance Fund Financial Statements approved
Convocation approved the audited combined financial statements for the Errors & Omissions Insurance Fund for the year ended December 31, 2006.

See the Finance and Audit Committee report for more information.


By-law on member information referred back to committee
The policy for a proposed by-law on member information was referred back to the Professional Regulation Committee.

See the Professional Regulation Committee report for more information.


Emerging Issues Committee report deferred
The Emerging Issues Committee report was deferred.

Lakehead University - Law School proposal
The Lakehead University - Law School proposal item was not debated.

 

Agenda and Minutes

Reports

Emerging Issues Committee Report

Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee/Comit sur l'quit et les affaires autochtones Report

  • Human Rights Monitoring Group (in camera)

For Information

  • Consultation with Bencher Election Candidates
  • Human Rights Monitoring Group
  • Public Education Series 2007

Finance and Audit Committee Report

  • Budget for Task Force on Licensing and Accreditation
  • Audited combined Errors and Omissions Insurance Fund Financial Statements for 2006
  • J. S. Denison Fund Application (in camera )

For Information

  • LawPRO Audited Financial Statements for 2006

Governance Task Force Report

  • Creation of Priority Planning Committee
  • Creation of Audit Committee
  • Status of Benchers under Suspension

Paralegal Standing Committee Report

  • Paralegal Rules of Conduct
  • Licensing By-Law
  • Exemptions By-Law

For Information

  • Regulation 30/99

Grandparenting Policy

Professional Development, Competence and Admissions Committee Report

  • Proposed Changes to LibraryCo, Including to the Unanimous Shareholder Agreement
  • Approval of Task Force on Licensing and Accreditation

Professional Regulation Committee Report

  • In Camera Matter
  • Proposed By-Law on Member Information
  • Proposed By-Law on Payment of LawPRO Deductibles

Report of the Director of Professional Development and Competence (separate cover)

  • Deemed Call Candidates

Secretary's Report to Convocation

  • Revised By-Laws

Treasurer's Report to Convocation

  • LawPRO Proxy

Tribunals Committee Report

  • Proposed Revised Ontario Regulation 30/99

For Information

  • Tribunals Office Statistics (Fourth Quarter Report, 2006)
  • Adjudicator Education Binders