February 24, 2005
Design for Licensing Process approved
Convocation approved the design for the licensing process for admission to the Law Society of Upper Canada at its February meeting. The licensing process will replace the current admissions program beginning May 2006. While ensuring that new lawyers continue to meet high standards of learning and competence, the new process will result in a decrease in licensing fees and enable candidates to be called to the Ontario Bar and practise law two months sooner.
The focus of the licensing process is to ensure that candidates have demonstrated that they possess required entry-level competencies to provide legal services effectively and in the public interest.
The three mandatory requirements of the approved process are:
- Attendance at a five-week skills and professional responsibility program with assignments and assessments. Classes run half-days, Monday through Friday.
- Two licensing examinations: a barrister examination and a solicitor examination
- An articling term of 10 months.
In December 2003, Convocation approved the model for the licensing process, however the Professional Development, Competence and Admissions Committee was asked to return to Convocation with a proposed design for approval. Convocation has since received detailed reports on each of the design components: June 2004 ( Competencies for the Licensing Process ), September 2004 ( Licensing Examinations ), November 2004 ( Articling ) and January 2005 ( Skills and Professional Responsibility Program ).
Almost 1,800 Ontario lawyers have provided input into the development of the new licensing process and will continue to be substantially involved over the coming months.
For more information about the design for the licensing process view the Professional Development, Competence and Admissions Committee Report to Convocation .
Amendments to Law Society Act enhance regulatory mandate
Convocation approved, in principle, amendments to the Law Society Act that would enhance its effectiveness in regulating the legal profession in the public interest. They include:
- an amendment to s. 49.10 of the Law Society Act to clarify that an application for order for search and seizure may be made to obtain information not only from members but also from third parties;
- an amendment to s. 49.27 of the Law Society Act to change the test for obtaining an order for a member's interim suspension to a belief on reasonable grounds that there is a significant risk that members of the public would be harmed; and
- an amendment to s. 49.12 of the Law Society Act to provide an additional exception to the confidentiality requirement to permit disclosure arising from information obtained during an audit, investigation, review, search, seizure or proceeding to prevent harm to the public, including bodily harm or death. View the report
New commentary to rule 2.04(6) on joint retainers for spousal wills
Convocation approved an amendment to the commentary to rule 2.04(6) on joint retainers. The new commentary explains the rule's application in circumstances in which a lawyer has prepared joint or mirror wills for spouses or partners and one spouse or partner later requests the lawyer to change his or her will. View the report
New members added to EAG
The Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee announced the appointment of several new members to the Equity Advisory Group (EAG) .
Convocation approved the following reappointments:
Derry Millar was reappointed Chair of the Appeal Panel
Larry Banack was reappointed to the Chair of the Hearing Panel
Diana Miles was reappointed to the Ontario Bar Assistance Program Board of Directors for a one-year term ending March 2006.