Fifteen new by-laws to come into effect May 1, 2007
Effective May 1, 2007, Law Society By-laws 1 to 39 will be revoked and 15 new by-laws, made at April Convocation, will come into effect.
Bill 14 - The Access to Justice Act , passed by the government in October, 2006, contained a number of amendments to the Law Society Act which come into effect on May 1. The amendments necessitate the creation of additional by-laws to implement paralegal regulation, as well as numerous revisions to existing by-laws
The report of the By-Law Review Committee contains annotated versions of the new by-laws describing the changes.
For more information see the By-Law Review Committee report .
Additional policy for exemptions from regulation approved
Convocation approved additional recommendations from the Paralegal Standing Committee regarding exemptions from regulation.
A preliminary exemption policy was approved at March Convocation. At that time, Convocation requested that the Committee review the category of exemption regarding persons whose work is supervised by a lawyer. The Committee reviewed this category and determined that in-house advocates such as litigation clerks who appear before courts or tribunals should be required to have a licence, unless they fit under one of the specifically exempted categories. The Committee also noted that lawyers who use the services of individuals doing non-advocacy work, such as law clerks in law firms and independent document-preparers, must comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct governing supervision.
Convocation also approved a policy to exempt the following additional groups from regulation, with the understanding that all exemption categories will be reviewed in two years time:
- Constituency assistants working in MPP's offices
- Staff of the Office of the Worker Adviser
- Staff of the Office of the Employer Adviser, and
- Law Students working in Student Legal Aid Services Societies, provided they are supervised by a lawyer and covered by the Lawyer's insurance.
Exemption categories approved to date are set out in Part V of the licensing by-law, By-law 4 .These exemptions are in addition to exclusions placed in the Law Society Act by Bill 14. The criteria for exemption are 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.
For more information see the April Paralegal Standing Committee report .See also the exemptions policy approved at March Convocation .
Hearing Panel composition revised
Four non-bencher lawyers and four non-bencher non-lawyer individuals will be added to the Law Society's Hearing Panel, as approved at April Convocation based on the recommendations of the Tribunals Composition Task Force. The addition of these eight adjudicators, who will be remunerated at the same rate as benchers, will assist in scheduling a lay representative as a panellist for every hearing and will provide the Hearing Panel with lawyer panellists who can contribute particular skills or expertise to the hearing process.
Convocation also approved the Task Force's recommendation that the Tribunals Committee consider the merits of establishing the office of Counsel to the Hearing Panel. The primary duty of the counsel would be to provide neutral advice on the Hearing Panel's written decisions to ensure consistency in the body of jurisprudence created by the Hearing Panel.
The Tribunals Composition Task Force was established in November 2005 to examine different models for the composition of Law Society tribunals. The Task Force considered five tribunal models and identified a number of principles that informed its recommendations for the composition of the Hearing Panel.
For more information see the Tribunals Composition Task Force report .
Paralegal competency profile developed
In preparation for the development of the paralegal licensing examination, the Paralegal Standing Committee produced a competency profile that sets out the required competencies for an entry-level paralegal professional. The profile will be referenced during the development of the paralegal licensing exam.
The competency profile reflects the Paralegal Rules of Professional Conduct approved by Convocation at its March meeting. The profile is not based on substantive areas of law, but rather on generic issues involving professional responsibility, practice management and ethics. The Law Society will work with the college sector to ensure that the substantive areas are covered in the curricula of the approved college programmes.
The competency profile was presented to Convocation for information purposes.
For more information on the profile as well as examination development, see the Paralegal Standing Committee report .
Insurance providers arranged for licensed paralegals
Licensed paralegals have a choice of two insurers when arranging required Errors and Omissions insurance coverage. The Law Society has negotiated insurance packages with A.M. Fredericks Underwriting Management Ltd. and ENCON Group Inc. Paralegals who require a license must arrange for insurance by May 1, 2007.
For more information see the Paralegal Standing Committee report .
Hearing and Appeal Panel appointments
To accommodate amendments to the Law Society Act , which come into effect on May 1, Convocation made a series of appointments and reappointments to the Hearing and Appeal Panels. Larry Banack was re-appointed Chair and Mark Sandler was re-appointed Vice-Chair of the Hearing Panel. Alan Gold was re-appointed Chair and William Simpson was appointed Vice-Chair of the Appeal Panel.
For more information see the Tribunals Committee report .
Working group to review comments on Specialist Certification Program
A working group of Specialty Committee members will review in detail comments from members of the Specialty Committees respecting the future of the Specialist Certification program.
The Professional Development, Competence and Admissions Committee circulated a report to Convocation on the Specialist Certification program to all members of the Specialty Committees for their comment. As a result of the number of comments received, the Committee determined that the issue should be further examined before being debated by Convocation. The original Committee report was on the agenda for February Convocation but was not reached.
For more information see the Professional Development and Competence committee reports to Convocation: April, 2007 report and February, 2007 report .
Finance and Audit Committee Report adopted
Convocation adopted the Finance and Audit Committee report. There were three matters for decision in the report including:
- General Fund - Audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2006
- Lawyers Fund for Client Compensation - Audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2006
- Appointment of Law Society auditor for the 2007 financial year.
For more information see the Finance and Audit Committee report .
Reports not reached
The Emerging Issues Committee, Governance Task Force and Professional Regulation Committee reports were not reached.