Convocation was webcast on September 24, 2015. View the archived video.
New process for
surrender of licence approved
Convocation approved, in principle, a new process to permit
lawyers and paralegals who are under investigation or involved in discipline
proceedings, to apply to surrender their licences. The new process would only
be used where the public interest does not require a full prosecution, and may
contribute to a more efficient Tribunal process by shortening or not commencing
hearings. By-law amendments are required to enact the process and will be
considered by Convocation at a future date. Full report.
Convocation approved LAWPRO's report setting out the Law
Society's professional liability insurance program for 2016. The base premium
for professional liability insurance coverage for Ontario lawyers in 2016
remains at $3,350 per lawyer for the sixth consecutive year. Full report.
Paralegal conduct rules
amended re: paralegals transferring between law firms
Convocation amended the Paralegal
Rules of Conduct regarding conflicts of interest resulting from paralegals transferring
between firms. The amendments include:
- New Rule 3.03 (10) clarifying that when a
paralegal transfers from one firm to another, the paralegal may disclose confidential
client information “to the extent reasonably necessary to detect and resolve conflicts
of interest” that may arise as a result of the transfer, provided the disclosure
does not prejudice the client.
- Amendment to Rule 3.05 (2) regarding law firm disqualification,
to clarify that a firm may not be required to cease representation if all
reasonable measures have been taken to ensure that there will be no disclosure
of confidential client information.
- New Rule 3.05 (6) providing that a transferring
paralegal shall exercise due diligence in ensuring that each member and
employee of the new firm complies with the rules and does not disclose
- New Rule 3.05 (1.1) providing that the transfer
rules do not apply to a transfer within a government.
The amendments are consistent with recent changes made to
the lawyers’ conduct rules, which were based on the Federation of Law Societies
of Canada Model Code. Full report.
Lawyers’ rules of
conduct amended re: language rights
Convocation amended the Rules
of Professional Conduct that address a client's right to receive legal
services in the official language of their choice to include explicit reference
to aboriginal languages. Full report.
ABS Working Group
reports on initial assessment and next steps
The Law Society’s ABS Working Group delivered an interim
report outlining its initial assessment and the directions it will consider
The Working Group has decided not to continue to consider structures
involving majority ownership, or control, of traditional law firms by
non-licensees. Through its research and consultations, the Working Group considers
that the experience to date in other jurisdictions does not show that the
benefits of majority non-licensee ownership, or control, outweigh regulatory
The Working Group plans to focus its study on change with
the potential to foster innovation or enhance access to justice. This includes
minority ownership by non-licensees, franchise arrangements, ownership by civil
society organizations such as charities and new forms of legal service delivery
in areas not currently well served by traditional practices. Full report.
Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines amended re: limited scope
The Paralegal Standing Committee added new provisions
regarding limited scope retainers to the Paralegal
Professional Conduct Guidelines. The new provisions:
- Advise that a paralegal should consider
confirming in writing with the client when the limited scope retainer is
complete, and consider providing notice to the tribunal of the completion of
- Caution the paralegal not to mislead a tribunal
as to the scope of a retainer, and to consider whether disclosure of the
limited nature of the retainer is required by the rules of practice or by the
- Advise the paralegal to consider whether it may
be necessary to obtain instructions from his or her client before disclosing
the retainer to a tribunal, or to an opposing party or counsel for an opposing
Limited scope retainers, also known as “unbundling” or
limited representation, involve a paralegal taking on part of a legal matter
without the expectation that the paralegal will represent the client for the
entire proceeding. In June, Convocation approved similar provisions to the commentary
to the lawyers’ Rules of Professional
Conduct. Full report.
Form 1 to be incorporated into
Lawyer and Paralegal Annual Reports
in 2016, licensees will no longer have to file a Form 1 with the Law Foundation
of Ontario, as the information will be incorporated into the Lawyer Annual
Report and the Paralegal Annual Report. Additional details will be
provided to licensees in October and November.
Convocation approved a number of appointments. Motion.