Treasurer Election – new Treasurer elected
Laurie H. Pawlitza has been elected to lead the Law Society of Upper Canada as its 63rd Treasurer and third woman Treasurer. Treasurer Pawlitza succeeded former Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar on June 29, 2010. Full report.
By-Law 4 amended re: integration program
By-Law 4 [Licensing] was amended to implement the integration program for certain groups exempted from paralegal licensing. Individuals who are members of certain groups exempt from Law Society licensing requirements, and Ontario collection agents, will have the opportunity to become licensed paralegals through the new integration program.
The program, approved at February Convocation, includes a mandatory online educational component offered by the Law Society. In addition to completing the educational program and writing an examination, applicants must be a member of one of the eligible groups, have three years experience, provide references, have professional liability insurance and be of good character.
There is a 12-month period, from October 1, 2010 through to September 30, 2011, during which applicants may apply to the program. Full report.
By-Law 4 amended re: exemptions to paralegal regulation
By-Law 4 [Licensing] was amended to implement policies previously approved at January Convocation regarding modifications to the exemptions to paralegal regulation.
The amendments include:
- the changes to the provisions regarding ‘family and friends’ creating a much more limited exemption for ‘friends,’ who are limited to three matters per year, while retaining a relatively permissive exemption for family members
- the removal of municipal committees of adjustment from the ambit of the provision of ‘legal services’
- the deletion of the exemption for members of the Canadian Society of Professionals in Disability Management
- the change to the title of the exemption formerly called ‘Constituency Assistants’ to ‘Member of Provincial Parliament’
- the new exemptions for paralegal college students on field placements in a legal aid clinic and on field placements other than in a legal clinic.
The issue of the removal of the exemption for the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) was deferred to September for further consideration and discussions with the OPPI. Full report.
Law Society working group to study ‘unbundling’ of legal services
A Law Society working group will consider issues related to the unbundling of legal services. Unbundling refers to the circumstances in which the client agrees with a lawyer or paralegal that he or she will provide legal services for part, but not all, of the client’s legal matter, and that the client is otherwise self-represented. The working group will examine the regulatory and procedural issues that may arise in providing unbundled services, and consider ways to educate lawyers, paralegals and the public about such services as an aspect of access to justice.
The recently released Listening to Ontarians: The Report of the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project, a joint initiative of the Law Society, Legal Aid Ontario and Pro Bono Law Ontario, identified unbundling as something that may make legal services more economically accessible for some litigants. Full report.
Diversifying the Bar: Lawyers Make History web project launched
The Heritage Committee launched Diversifying the Bar: Lawyers Make History, an ongoing web project that enriches the history of the legal profession in Ontario by preserving the stories of ground-breaking lawyers of diverse communities. The aim of this project is to recognize early and exceptional lawyers of the past and present from many diverse communities.
Many legal and community organizations affiliated with specific diverse communities were contacted and invited to suggest the names of lawyers from their communities. As this is an ongoing project, lawyers are encouraged to nominate candidates for inclusion in the project. The Diversifying the Bar project is available in the history section of the website. Full report.
Federation’s Mobility Defalcation Compensation Agreement approved
Convocation approved the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Mobility Defalcation Compensation Agreement, which ensures uniform protection for the public across Canada in the event of misappropriation of funds by mobile lawyers. Convocation approved the agreement formally at its June meeting; however the agreement’s public protection measures were already in place through provisions in the LAWPRO base insurance policy. Full report.
Recommended reforms to CanLII governance approved
Convocation approved the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) By-Law and the CanLII Agreement proposed by the Federation of Law Societies’ CanLII Futures Committee. The CanLII Futures Committee was formed in 2008 to make recommendations regarding the governance, management and funding of CanLII. Full report.
Human Rights Monitoring Group
Convocation approved the Human Rights Monitoring Group’s proposed intervention in the case of the disbarment and disappearances of lawyers in China. Full report.
Law Commission of Ontario
Convocation reaffirmed the Law Society’s support in principle for the mandate of the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) for a further five years subject to budgetary considerations. The LCO was launched in 2007 with a mandate to recommend law reform measures to increase the legal system’s relevance, effectiveness and accessibility; to clarify and simplify the law; to consider technology as a means to enhance access to justice; and to stimulate critical debate about law and promote scholarly legal research.
It was established by five partners: the Ministry of the Attorney General, Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, the Law Deans of Ontario, the Law Foundation of Ontario and the Law Society.
The LCO is seeking confirmation of renewal of its mandate from the partners by the first quarter of 2011. Once its mandate is confirmed, the LCO will approach the Law Society with a request for specific funding. Full report.
Rules of Practice and Procedure amended
The Rules of Practice and Procedure were amended by Convocation to complete the implementation of the expansion of the Summary Hearing Process. Ontario Regulation 167/07 (Hearings before the hearing and appeal panels), which also required changes to implement the policy, was amended by the Ontario cabinet in March 2010.
Convocation approved an expansion of the summary hearing process in September 2009 to provide that a single member of the hearing panel may hear cases involving failure to report to LAWPRO and breaches of By-Law 8 [Reporting and Filing Requirements]. By-Law 8 includes certain reporting and filing requirements such as the requirement to notify the Law Society of bankruptcy or insolvency. Full report.
Finance Committee report
The decision items in the Finance Committee report were approved by Convocation. Full report.