Keep your practice current
by Fran Hodgkins
The following are brief summaries of several recent Section meetings held throughout the province. More detailed information, minutes, and Section Papers from the Section meetings are accessible online at www.cba.org/bc for enrolled CBA members.
Family Law – Kamloops
Meeting: May 31, 2006
Speakers: Master Hyslop and Kris Jensen
Topic: Developing a Successful Family Practice
Members of this well-attended meeting heard Master Hyslop and Kris Jensen facilitate an interesting discussion based on their many years of experience in family practice. They provided summary points on fees, retainers and billing, civility and initial consultations. Some of the suggestions made were: Read Part 8 of the Legal Professions Act on lawyers’ fees; be sure to get a retainer; be cautious about sending letters to opposing counsel that make unfounded allegations about their client; and focus on what you could be doing, rather than what you are doing. Different lawyers use various billing practices, such as monthly invoices, or when something is accomplished. The down- side of the latter is that it can take a long time to bill.
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law
Meeting: May 25, 2006
Speaker: John Beardwood: Chair, CBA Privacy and Access Law Section; Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP (Toronto)
Topic: Update on National Section Initiatives and Activities; Privacy and Outsourcing
Mr. Beardwood gave a brief overview of the structure and purpose of the CBA national Privacy and Access Law Section, and reminded FOI members of the B.C. Branch that they are automatically members of the national Section. He then spoke about the opportunities available for participation in the various initiatives of the national Section, which includes: (i) standing for election as a Member-at-Large of the Section Executive, (ii) volunteering as a member of one of the Working Groups, and/or (iii) contributing to the Section’s e-newsletter, Privacy Pages. A slide presentation about privacy issues relevant to the Canadian public and private sectors in relation to extra-jurisdictional outsourcing was also made by Mr. Beardwood at this meeting.
Meeting: June 26, 2006
Speakers: Dave Rizzo, Supervisor, CBSA, Vancouver International Airport and Anita Haidar, District Program Service Officer, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
Topic: Operations and Procedures for Facilitation and Enforcement at Vancouver International Airport
A summary of the integration of customs, immigration, and agriculture functions at ports of entry, particularly at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) was presented by Mr. Rizzo and Ms. Haidar. They also provided a statistical overview of immigration processing at YVR. Numbers for temporary resident processing are back up to pre-SARS levels and continue to increase.
Officers are being cross-trained to learn immigration, customs, and agriculture functions and a new integrated team has been created. The delegation of authority has been an issue but is being resolved. YVR has been faster to integrate than most other ports. The CBSA confirms that Temporary Resident Permit applications can be made at the port of entry and they will be processed, but applications cannot be submitted in advance. At the ports, the fee is charged only if the application is approved. The ports will also do rehabilitation applications. Counsel may send work permit or similar applications in advance to ports for review, but are encouraged to keep the size down and include only necessary documents. CBSA has assumed responsibility for IRPA prosecutions from the RCMP as of June 2006.
Meeting: June 22, 2006
Speaker: Ralph Sultan, MLA (West Vancouver-Capilano)
Topic: Government Update on the B.C. Insurance Act Review
Mr. Sultan is the MLA overseeing the present Insurance Act review. He provided an overview of why the review was initiated and he discussed how the review is progressing including an update on recent consultations that were held with stakeholders. Mr. Sultan outlined what further steps will be taken as the review continues. The government expects to release a discussion paper in late 2006, which may include draft legislation. The government further intends to introduce the new Act to the Legislature in the spring of 2008.
Meeting: June 14, 2006
Speaker: John Keenleyside
Topic: Travels with the Hanging Judge: British Columbia Colonial Legal History Through Documents
Mr. Keenleyside, a Director and Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada, and past chair of both the Friends of Vancouver Archives and the Simon Fraser University Friends of the Library, has amassed one of the largest private collections in existence of documents relating to the colonial history of British Columbia. Through slides and original documents, Mr. Keenleyside used the story of Judge Matthew Begbie’s life and travels during the 1850s and ‘60s to illustrate some surprising aspects of British Columbia’s pre-Confederation legal history. The presentation was well illustrated from Mr. Keenleyside’s collection, including correspondence, bench notes, legal submissions, photographs, and Court administrative documents.
Young Lawyers – Victoria
Meeting: May 31, 2006
Speakers: The Honourable Judge Smith, The Honourable Judge Palmer, The Honourable Judge Quantz, The Honourable Judge Bracken, Mary Mouat and Odette Coccola
Topic: Settlement Conferences in the Context of Small Claims Court
Senior practitioners Mary Mouat and Odette Coccola gave a short presentation on settlement conferences to start the discussion. They emphasized that lawyers need to remove their litigation hats in the settlement conference and need to keep in mind that their clients’ best interests may not be served by taking strong positions and proceeding to litigation. Lawyers should also have examined their case well and have researched issues of liability and quantum. Judge Quantz provided an example where a young lawyer felt that it was not in her client’s best interests to settle; from his perspective, however, her client’s case had weaknesses that made the settlement that was reached the best course for both parties. The judges noted that few lawyers use Rule 10.1 to file offers to settle. Judge Palmer noted that a lawyer would have nothing to lose by serving an offer to settle on the other party at the settlement conference. If the other party does not accept the offer to settle, a penalty may be awarded to the offeror under Rule 10.1. This meeting and the productive discussion were a great opportunity for young lawyers to meet provincial court judges in an informal setting.
Welcome back General Practice, Solo and Small Firm – Prince Rupert Section
After a two-year hiatus, this Section will again be holding meetings for CBA members in the county of Prince Rupert. Co-Chairs Bryan Crampton and Laurel Bieber will be organizing several meetings for the coming year. To register in this Section call the Branch office 604-687-3404 or toll free at 1-250-687-3404 or print a form from our website www.cba.org/bc.
With Section enrolment you will receive advance notice of all meetings and events. You will automatically be registered in the corresponding National Section at no charge. Check your form for the additional list of National Sections and join at no cost. Membership has its privileges!
This article was published in the October 2006 issue of BarTalk. © 2006 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.