October 2004

October 28, 2004

Law Society of Upper Canada holds the line on fees in 2005 budget
The Law Society is maintaining the total membership levy for 2005 at last year's level of $1,441.

The combined Law Society membership fee and LawPRO base premium in 2005 is $4,066.

The 2005 annual membership fee breaks down as follows:

  • General Membership fee increase of $21 - from $939 last year to $960
  • Compensation fund levy reduction of $30 - from $230 to $200
  • County Law Library levy increase of $9 - from $197 to $206
  • Capital and Technology levy remains the same at $75.

This year's budget balances the demand for services from an increasing membership and takes into account new initiatives resulting from Convocation's decisions to continue to help fulfill the Law Society's mandate.

Highlighted budget expenditures in 2005 include an additional $1 million allocated to the Regulatory Division, which is in the midst of a number of large and complex real estate fraud investigations.

Also, additional funds have been budgeted for implementation of a new regulatory case management system, development of the Bar Admission Course licensing regime, and library-related services provided by LibraryCo, the Great Library, and CanLII.

"I want to thank Clayton Ruby, chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, and its members for proposing a budget that allows the Law Society to hold the line on fees," said Frank Marrocco, Q.C., Treasurer of the Law Society.

"We have carefully managed our finances to keep fees from rising. It has taken a significant effort to achieve cost efficiencies, while at the same time improving our capacity to deliver on our public interest mandate. Members have seen a 19 per cent decrease in their annual fees over the last four years."

Convocation Approves Amendments to
Rule 2.04 of the Rules of Professional Conduct (Conflicts of Interest)

The Law Society's governing council approved in October two new commentaries to Rules 2.04(1) and (3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct that relate to the avoidance of conflicts of interest.

The new commentaries are designed to highlight how a lawyer's personal relationship with a client - including a consensual sexual relationship - may conflict with a lawyer's obligation to provide objective, independent legal advice to a client.

They also say that before accepting a retainer from or continuing a retainer with a person with whom the lawyer has a sexual or intimate relationship, the lawyer should consider the following factors:

  • the vulnerability of the client, both emotional and economic
  • the fact that the lawyer and client relationship may create a power imbalance in favour of the lawyer or, in some circumstances, the client
  • whether the sexual or intimate personal relationship will jeopardize the client's right to have all the information concerning the client's business and affairs held in strict confidence
  • whether such a relationship may require the lawyer to act as a witness in the proceedings
  • whether such a relationship will interfere in any way with the lawyer's financial obligations to the client, the lawyer's ability to exercise independent professional judgment, or the lawyer's ability as an officer of the court to administer justice.

The committee's proposals were published and the Law Society sought input. Based on feedback received over the past several months, and the committee's reconsideration of the proposals, Convocation adopted the new commentaries.

In keeping with the purpose of commentary, the new commentary's explanation of this type of conflict accompanies the rule on conflicts. While a lawyer's misconduct may relate to what is described in commentary, the misconduct would be based on a breach of the relevant rule.

Professional Regulation Committee Report

Convocation Approves Amendments to
Rule 2.08 of the Rules of Professional Conduct (Contingency Fees)

Convocation amended Rules 2.08(3) and (5) of the Rules of Professional Conduct as a result of new Ontario government legislation on contingency fees.

On October 1, 2004, amendments to the Solicitors Act and a new regulation on contingency fee arrangements came into force.

Convocation reduced the text in its rules and commentary on contingency fees, since much of the detail it contained is now covered by the legislative amendments and the new regulation.

Professional Regulation Committee Report


Agenda + Minutes


Reports for Information Only