Civil Liability Review
At its September 21, 2002 meeting, CBABC Provincial Council considered Attorney General Geoff Plant’s request for input on the Civil Liability Review.
Upon reviewing research by Law and Legislation Reform Officer Stuart Rennie and the Law Society of BC, and hearing oral presentations by the Trial Lawyers of BC, Council members debated the issue at some length. Council considered, following debate, the following resolution which was adopted by majority vote:
“CBABC opposes the government’s plan to legislate sweeping changes to the law of civil liability and recovery without full consideration, consultation and a demonstrated need.”
The resolution has been communicated to Attorney General Geoff Plant, and to all members by e-mail and facsimile. Any members who did not previously provide input on this issue but who wish to do so are encouraged to contact their local CBA representative. A complete list of representatives is available at www.bccba.org.
CBA Fee Debated at Law Society AGM
Two-thirds majority confirms universality
The Annual General Meeting of the Law Society of BC was held on Friday September 20, 2002, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver and in eight other audio locations in the province. More than 500 members attended to debate and vote on four key resolutions before the membership.
The AGM proceedings began by acclaiming Bencher Peter Keighley to the position of Second Vice President of the Law Society. In keeping with the focus of the meeting resolutions, Victoria lawyer Sandra Harper asked Mr. Keighley whether or not he supported universal membership in the CBA. Mr. Keighley responded that he did.
Resolution #2 was considered first, as an amendment to Resolution #1, seeking to remove the inclusion of the CBA fee in the Law Society practice fee. The resolution was moved by Gail Davidson, seconded by Tony Vecchio, and addressed by the largest number of speakers to the meeting. CBABC President David Paul, past TLABC president Jim Murphy, past Law Society Treasurer Warren Wilson, QC and Sandy Jakab-Hancock spoke against the amendment and in favour of universal membership. Dugald Christie, Anders Ourom, Cameron Ward and others spoke in favour of the resolution. The amendment was defeated by a two-thirds majority.
The practice fee, which includes “an amount equivalent to the CBA fee,” passed with little opposition, as did Resolution #3, moved by CBA past president Eric Rice, QC and CBABC past president John Waddell, QC. That resolution called on the Law Society to work cooperatively with the CBABC to address the matter of Law Society members who do not wish to be identified as CBA members. Resolution #4, moved by Lloyd Duhaime and seconded by Cameron Ward, which called for a referendum on universal membership, was withdrawn by the movers.
“This has been a difficult time, but also an uplifting one, in speaking with so many members who care passionately about the CBA and its value to the legal profession as a whole,” said President Paul. “Now, we must reflect on what we can do as an Association to resolve the concerns of those members who are not as happy with the CBA, and who want us to do a better job of being responsive to their needs. If there is one thing this past year has taught us, it is the need to work to consult members more broadly on important issues and policy decisions of the Branch.”
Supreme Court of British Columbia
Notice to the Profession
Calderbank settlement letters (September 18, 2002)
The Supreme Court Rules Revision Committee seeks input from the bar about possible changes to Rule 37 which governs offers to settle to allow for the continued use of Calderbank letters where appropriate. Committee members have expressed a desire to retain Calderbank letters. While the committee may decide against any action, two options are under consideration:
- a new sub-rule could be added specifically preserving the Calderbank procedure in cases where Rule 37 cannot be used; or
- repeal Rule 37 and replace it with a codified form of Calderbank letters.
Please address any suggestions or comments on the options identified in writing to: The Supreme Court Rules Revision Committee: Attention Judith Hoffman, Vancouver Law Courts, 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2E1 no later than January 15, 2003.
The full Notice to the Profession is available at www.courts.gov.bc.ca
Kamloops Land Title Office
On November 29, 2002, the Application Receiving Centre at the Government Agent’s office in Nelson will stop receiving applications for the Kamloops Land Title Office.
All applications submitted to the Kamloops Land Title Office through the Nelson Application Receiving Centre on or before November 28, 2002, must be dealt with directly with the Kamloops Land Title office after December 2, 2002. All applications dealing with titles in the Nelson Land Title District are to be submitted for registration commencing December 2, 2002, to the:
Kamloops Land Title Office
114-455 Columbia Street
Kamloops, BC V2C 6K4
Pro bono Opportunity
The MS Society’s Volunteer Legal Advocacy Program (VLAP) was successfully launched in the Lower Mainland, Kamloops and Victoria in January 2002. MS can be a debilitating and unpredictable disease and persons living with MS are often faced with a variety of legal challenges involving human rights, employment equity, insurance, income security, estate planning and family law issues.
VLAP is presently recruiting volunteer lawyers who are able to commit to taking one legal case file per year and who are dedicated to supporting the unique needs of our members. In exchange for volunteering, the MS Society is able to offer lawyers a tax receipt for billable hours that they have volunteered to the program.
If you would like to make a significant difference in the life of someone with multiple sclerosis or have questions about VLAP please contact Adrianne Boothroyd at 604.602.3204.
BC Courthouse Library Society
Copyright Compliance and Self-Service Photocopying at Libraries
The BC Courthouse Library Society (BCCLS) has implemented new photocopy procedures to ensure compliance with fair dealing aspects of copyright law. New procedures include requesting that users abide by certain conditions when making photocopies on public access photocopiers and printers. The procedures are in response to the judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal in CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada 2002 FCA 187. Users may still use copy cards in photocopiers but the BCCLS asks users to sign a notice of permitted photocopy practice when purchasing copy cards. The coin operation of photocopiers has been discontinued in order to ensure that permitted photocopy practice forms are signed prior to copying.
The BCCLS plans to make changes to full service photocopying procedures in the near future, to require users to sign a notice of permitted photocopy practice prior to BCCLS staff commencing service photocopying. The Society will inform BCCLS users in advance of any procedure changes.
Online Catalogue Update
The BCCLS is upgrading its online catalogue system to provide more information to users regarding the status of the collection and for improved tracking of materials. The new circulation system, to be introduced in November, will provide web-access to information regarding the loan status of materials in the Vancouver collection. In Vancouver, there will be new procedures for borrowing books and for the use of BCCLS library cards; loan policies will also change.
Full information will be provided to BCCLS users prior to the introduction of the new system. Stay tuned for further updates.
Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP)
Graduate Fellowships 2003/2004
LAP provides confidential support, counselling and referrals for lawyers, their families, support staff, judges and students suffering from alcohol and/or chemical dependency, stress, depression or just about any type of personal problem.
For assistance or information on meetings and resources please call 604.685.2171 or toll free 1.888.685.2171.
The LAP office is located at 415-1080 Mainland Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 2T4.
These articles were published in the October 2002 issue of BarTalk. © 2002 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.