June 2001

June 22, 2001

Law Society Elects New Treasurer
At Friday's Convocation, Professor Vern Krishna was elected as the Law Society's new Treasurer. Click here for the official announcement .

By-law 15 (Annual Fees) to be amended - New calls to receive one-month membership exemption
All new calls to the bar will effectively receive a one-month exemption for membership fees once approval to amend By-law 15 is granted. Convocation accepted a recommendation to amend By-law 15 to address issues arising from the recent remodelling of the Bar Admission Course. The amendments to the by-law will be drafted and brought before Convocation for approval.

Under the current version of the by-law, people called to the bar in the first quarter of the year pay fees as if they were admitted on March 31; thus those called in the main call to the bar in February receive a one-month exemption from fees. People called during the 2nd, 3rd or 4th quarter do not receive this exemption.

By-law 15 will be amended so all persons called to the bar, at all times of the year, will pay membership fees as if they were admitted on the last day of the month following their call to the bar.

Finance and Audit Committee Report to Convocation (pdf)

 

Discrimination/Harassment Counsel (DHC) program to become permanent
Convocation gave the go ahead to make permanent the Discrimination/Harassment Counsel (DHC) program, launched in 1999 as a pilot program. Convocation based its decision on a detailed report, by the Equity Initiatives department, that reviews and outlines the success of the pilot program. The report also makes recommendations to increase the effectiveness of the program, particularly by clarifying that the DHC provides services to those who do not wish to approach the Law Society through its complaints process, and is therefore considered a 'last resort'.

The DHC program is a confidential, arm's length program. It provides service to individuals who have complaints about discrimination and harassment by lawyers. Mary Teresa Devlin is the current DHC.

New By-law and Amendments to Rules of Practice and Procedure and Professional Conduct regarding DHC
Convocation made a new by-law and amended the Rules of Practice and Procedure and the Rules of Professional Conduct to establish the permanency of the DHC program and address issues about the confidentiality of the office of the DHC. These issues involve

  1. the duty of members to report misconduct on the part of another lawyer,
  2. information received by the DHC as related to Law Society proceedings, and
  3. information received by the DHC as related to proceedings external to the Society.

The new by-law, By-law 36, establishes the office of the DHC, provides for the appointment of the DHC by Convocation, specifies the duties of the DHC and requires the DHC to maintain the secrecy of information obtained in the fulfilment of his or her duties. The by-law specifies that the duty of confidentiality overrides any requirement to report misconduct of another lawyer under the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Rule 11.04, added to the Rules of Practice and Procedure, provides that the information obtained by the DHC in performing the duties of that office is inadmissible in evidence, in named Society proceedings.

The Rules of Professional Conduct were amended by deleting a paragraph in the commentary to rule 6.01(3) that discussed the requirements of the DHC to report certain misconduct.

The amended Rules will be available on the Law Society web site by June 29. Drafts are included in the Professional Regulation Committee's report to Convocation. A draft of the new by-law is also included in the report; however the draft does not incorporate amendments made during Convocation. Language for these amendments will be introduced at the July 26, 2001 Convocation and the new by-law will be posted on the web page after the July Convocation.

Professional Regulation Committee Report to Convocation (pdf)
Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee Report to Convocation (pdf)

Rules of Professional Conduct Amended Re Advice on French Language Rights
Convocation amended the Rules of Professional Conduct to include a duty to advise clients of their French language rights in connection with the legal matter for which they consult a lawyer. New Commentary was added to rule 1.03 - Interpretation.

The amended Rules will be available on the Law Society web site by June 29. A draft (not including minor amendments made during Convocation) is included in the Professional Regulation Committee's report to Convocation.

Professional Regulation Committee Report to Convocation (pdf)

Special Committee on Lawyer's Duties with Respect to Physical Evidence Update
The Special Committee will meet over the summer to assess input received in response to its call for input from members of the profession and the public on its proposed rule and commentary (dealing with a lawyer's duties with respect to physical evidence relevant to a crime). It will report back to Convocation in the Fall. The committee received over 25 letters and email communications.

Special Committee on Lawyer's Duties with Respect to Physical Evidence Relevant to a Crime - Second Interim Report to Convocation (pdf)

 

Greg Mulligan Appointed Chair of LibraryCo. Inc.
Greg Mulligan was appointed Chair of LibraryCo. Inc. by Convocation. Mr. Mulligan replaces Susan Elliott who stepped down as Chair.

Last year Convocation approved the creation of a new centralized administrative structure for County Law Libraries in Ontario through LibraryCo. Inc.

 

Appointments to Chief Justice Advisory Committee on Professionalism
Convocation approved a motion that the President of the Ontario Crown Attorney's Association and all Ontario Law School Deans be appointed to the Chief Justice Advisory Committee on Professionalism.