Treasurer acclaimed for second term
Gavin MacKenzie, Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, was acclaimed for a second term.
Investigations Task Force recommendations to improve regulatory processes adopted
The Investigations Tasks Force's recommendations to improve regulatory processes were approved by Convocation. The Task Force, established in November 2004, expressed confidence that systems are already in place to support quality and timely investigations. The recommendations, outlined below, will assist the Society in its mandate to regulate the legal profession in the public interest.
Recommendation #1 - Utilization of Available Information and Tools
The Task Force recommended that the Director of Professional Regulation and the Director of Professional Development and Competence prepare an issues paper for their respective committees to address the need to align conduct, competence and capacity processes and to identify and close gaps in existing processes. This will lead to more effective management of the remedial and enforcement aspects of a member's conduct, reduction and elimination of parallel proceedings and improved information exchange between departments.
Recommendation #2 - Changes To Operational Policies Established by Convocation
The Task Force recommended that Convocation's Complainant's Protocol and Third Party Complaints Policy be revoked and replaced with Convocation policies, included in the report, that require Law Society staff to create and maintain operational standards with respect to complaints handling and 'third party complaints'. This will provide flexibility in the application of investigative processes while ensuring that investigations are timely, thorough and appropriate for the matter investigated.
Recommendation #3 - Ensuring a Fair and Transparent Process
The Task Force also recommended enhancements to communications including a new initiative to improve the accessibility of rules, by-laws and other regulations for members and the public and a recommendation that the Tribunals Committee consider improvements to the distribution of information about the results of hearings and appeals to members and the public.
Investigations Task Force Report
Law Society to undertake survey on impact of law school tuition fee increases
The Law Society is set to survey Licensing Process candidates and lawyers recently called to the bar to determine the impact of law school tuition fee increases in Ontario. The survey will examine:
- the debt load of law school students;
- the effectiveness of bursaries, financial support programs and back end debt relief programs;
- whether the increase in tuition fees has an impact on students' career choices; and
- strategies to alleviate the burden of increasing tuition fees.
Convocation approved a budget of $45,000 for the 2006 study.
The initial survey may be developed into an annual survey of Licensing Process students so that longitudinal data on the effect of changes in tuition fees may be accumulated.
Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee Report
Finance and Audit Committee Report
Law Society to mark 175th anniversary of Osgoode Hall
Convocation approved the proposal of the Heritage Committee to mark the 175th Anniversary of Osgoode Hall. Details of the proposal along with the budget are subject to further approval during the 2007 budgetary process.
Heritage Committee Report
Mandate for Human Rights Violations Against Lawyers and the Judiciary Monitoring Group approved
Convocation approved the Mandate for Human Rights Violations Against Members of the Legal Profession and the Judiciary Monitoring Group. The mandate of the Monitoring Group is to:
- review information that comes to its attention about human rights violations that target members of the profession and the judiciary, here and abroad, as a result of the discharge of their legitimate professional duties;
- determine if the matter is one that requires a response from the Law Society; and
- prepare a response for review and approval by Convocation.
The Monitoring Group was established in March 2006.
Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee Report
Governance Task Force - Terms of Reference approved
Convocation approved the following terms of reference for the Governance Task Force.
The Task Force will consider and recommend to Convocation improvements
to the corporate governance of the Law Society to fulfill its mandate through:
- efficient and effective corporate governance;
- co-ordination of corporate governance with the operational management of the Law Society, and
- effective priority setting, including budgetary considerations.
In addition, the Task Force will study two specific issues referred to it by Convocation:
- the Treasurer's election process, including certain provisions of By-Law 6, based on the Secretary's report to Convocation of March 23, 2006;
- procedural issues relating to Committee recommendations and motions before Convocation, arising from adoption of Rules of Procedure for Convocation (amendments to By-Law 8) on March 23, 2006.
Governance Task Force Report
James Caskey was appointed to the LAWPRO Board of Directors.
The Professional Regulation Committee and Professional Development, Competence and Admissions Committee reports were deferred to June Convocation.