New TLABC course on WESA

On March 31st, the Wills, Estates and Succession Act was introduced in B.C. and is set to change many years of wills and estates jurisprudence.

With this in mind, the Trial Lawyers Association of BC is offering an in-depth seminar on ”WESA: Everything a trial lawyer needs to know about the Wills, Estate and Succession Act.” This course is chaired by R. Trevor Todd and has such knowledgeable speakers as Madame Justice Ballance and Madame Justice Dardi, both of the Supreme Court of BC. Other notable speakers include:

The course will be held on Friday, June 6th at the Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside. Register before May 16th and save 10%! This seminar qualifies for 6 CPD hours, including one embedded hour of professional responsibility and ethics, client care and relations.

UVic Law Prof wins CBA Legal Aid Leader Award

University of Victoria law professor Glen Gallins, Q.C. has won the Canadian Bar Association’s Legal Aid Leader Award.

The Legal Aid Leader Award, presented by the CBA’s Legal Aid Liaison Committee, recognizes “legal aid lawyers who have made a significant contribution to providing access to justice to people in need.” The Award is “intended to raise awareness of the important role lawyers can have in delivering legal aid services and to encourage members of the legal profession to get involved.”

Professor Gallins is the director of the UVic Law Centre Clinical Program where he has contributed to the Victoria community and people in need. He has also educated and influenced generations of budding lawyers on the importance of legal aid.

This Award is a well-deserved recognition for Professsor Gallins and his dedication to legal aid in our province.

Benchers approve new law school at TWU

This past Friday, the Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia voted 20-to-6 to approve the proposed Faculty of Law at Trinity Western University. The LSBC decsion follows a similar approval made by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the BC government’s approval to grant law degrees.

Friday’s meeting, delivered via webcast, was open to the public in an effort towards making the process “open and transparent”.

President Jan Lindsay QC said, “The Benchers arrived at their decision through a process that has been open, thorough and fair – from the beginning, right through to the decision. It has involved consideration of legal advice from a number of advisors, review and consideration of the Federation reports and the proposal from TWU and the public submissions. It has occupied our attention for some time and the decision was thoroughly considered and not taken lightly.”

For those interested in viewing a recorded version of Friday’s webcast, the LSBC has made the Bencher’s debate available.

CanLII introduces CanLII Connects

CanLII launched a new initiative this week: CanLII Connects. The following introduction was offered via the CanLII blog:

Lawyers and others routinely prepare and share summaries and commentary on the decisions of Canadian courts. You will find these insights in journals, magazines, blogs, newsletters, commercial legal search tools and many other places. But until now, you could not find multiple thoughts about a single case in one place, at the same time, at no charge to the user and directly linked to the full text of the case!

CanLII Connects launched on April 4th with nearly 27,000 documents co9vering cases from 11 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories.

The initial case commentaries have come from “national law firms. major regional firms, academics, leading practitioners and legal bloggers, research specialists, commercial publishers and law societies” who were invited by CanLII to help launch CanLII Connects.

Starting April 4th, however, CanLII is accepting new contributions from anyone with a “demonstrated capacity for legal analysis.” British Columbia firms that participated in the first stage of the project include Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Lawson Lundell LLP and OnPoint Legal Research Law Corporation.

TWU Bencher Meeting to be Webcast on April 11th

The April 11 Benchers’ meeting will determine whether Trinity Western University’s law school will be an approved faculty of law for the purposes of the Law Society of BC’s admission program. TWU’s law faculty has received preliminary approval from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and has received authorization to grant law degrees from the Government of BC.

In its press release, the Law Society states, “In the interest of maintaining an open and transparent decision-making process, the meetin will be available online via webcast, which will allow for the public and the profession to conveniently see and hear the proceedings online.”

The meeting will be webcast at http://new.livestream.com/mediaco/lsbc04114. The livestream will begin at 8:30 am.

Law Foundation Reduces Grant Funding

On March 31, the Law Foundation of BC announced that it was reducing its grant budget from $19.6 million in 2013 to 16 million for 2014. This difficult decision was primarily in response to low interest rates. The Law Foundation explained that it was a difficult decision that was made after serious discussion and consideration of the principles developed by the Board in 2012. Those principles are that the Law Foundation will:

  • fulfill its statutory mandate;
  • remain a stable and effective organization;
  • produce the greatest value for the poor;
  • recognize the importance of delivering services to disadvantaged people;
  • give a direct benefit to the public of Foundation funding;
  • provide maximum benefit to British Columbia;
  • minimize harm to grantees as much as possible; and
  • take into account alternate funding that may be available to grantees.

The Law Foundation gave priority to ongoing programs and services, but still had to make significant reductions to continuing programs. The Law Foundation emphasized that these cuts are not anticipated to be “temporary or one year measures.” Grantees were advised to adjust their 2015 budget requests accordingly.

 

2014 Victoria Bar Association Hockey Game

The first annual VBA Hockey Game is coming! It will be held on Saturday, May 17 at the Oak Bay Recreation Center. The puck drops at 3:15 and the game ends at 5:15, with an intermission for the Zamboni to clean the ice. The cost is $25.00 per player.

This will be a “friendly” game, with no body checking and no slap shots. All levels are welcome, but players must have their own equipment.

There will be a post game get-together at Gorge Point Pub at 6:15 pm.

 

 

 

April Litigation Calendar

Dye & Durham have released our April litigation calendar:

calendar-apr14

Each month, Dye & Durham releases our free, one-page monthly litigation calendar. It is published just before the beginning of the month and contains important information such as:

  • Trial submissions dates;
  • Dates when Judges/Masters are NOT available;
  • Web links to other relevant legal sites and new directives;
  • Trial scheduling telephone information.

The calendar covers the Supreme Courts within the Lower Mainland and Victoria, and is colour-coded to distinguish between registries. We also alert you to updates, outages, and service disruptions on CSO, LTSA, BC ONline, Names Request Online, and other online systems; weather advisories and route cancellations to Harbour Air and Helijet that affect our courier services; upcoming Dye & Durham webinars and new services; and new practice directives issued by the courts.

It’s Make-a-Will Week in BC!

This week, from today (March 31) to Sunday, April 6, is Make-a-Will Week in British Columbia. The purpose of Make-a-Will Week is to “encourage the public to write their will or bring an existing will up-to-date.”

The Ministry of Justice, on its website, briefly discusses the effects of dying without a will. “If you die without a will, your estate may not be distributed in the way you would have wished and the costs of administering your estate may also be higher.”

The Ministry also addresses the importance of having a will. “Having a will helps ensure that important questions for parents – like who will raise your young children if both you and your spouse die – are answered.”

Make-a-Will Week coincides with the Wills, Estate and Succession Act coming into force today. While WESA does not invalidate wills written before today, some of the laws have changed so it is a worthwhile endeavour to review or update older wills.

BC students chosen for SCC clerkships

Two UVic Law students, Ashley Caron and Xiaoshan Zheng, have been chosen to clerk with the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015-2016.

Ashley will be clerking with Justice Moldaver and Xiaoshan will be assigned to a new judge appointed from Quebec to fill one of the vacancies. The students will be expected to research points of law, prepare memoranda of law and generally assist the judges in the work of the court.

In each of the past four years, UVic Law has placed two clerks with the SCC. Only three law schools – McGill, University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall – have placed more students between 2012-13 and 2014-15.

QP LegalEze to merge with BC Laws

There is big news on the BC legislation front this week! QP LegalEze will be incorporated into the freely-available website BC Laws. In an email to QP LegalEze subscribers, the BC Government announced the following:

“The Queen’s Printer is upgrading the functionality of BC Laws (www.bclaws.ca) to increase access to legislative material for the citizens of British Columbia to be consistent with the open government and open data policy. Effective April 2, 2014, content currently accessible on QP LegalEze will start to be made available on BC Laws. It is anticipated that all content from QP LegalEze including Gazette Part I and II will be transitioned to BC Laws. As well, BC Laws will have enhanced searching capability…

Once all content has been made available on BC Laws, the QP LegalEze service will be discontinued.

On April 2nd, the following content will be available on BC Laws, current and historical Orders-in-Councils, Table of Legislative Changes and Point in Time tables. The new BC Laws will provide upgraded features such as search capability, and the ability to create apps that can pull legislative data directly from the BC Laws website.”

TLABC’s Webinar Wednesday: So, you’re new to the Bar . . .

The Trial Lawyer’s Association of British Columbia is offering another “Webinar Wednesday” called “So You’re New to the Bar… Tips & tactics to survive the end of law school and the beginning of articling.”

The program is designed to answer common questions that law and articling students have about the articling process. It will cover such practical issues as chamber practice and what law firms to look for and what is expected of an articling student. The program is based on actual questions asked by real law students and will cover the day-to-day aspects of articling that every student needs to know.

Cheryl D’Sa is the speaker for this Webinar. Ms. D’Sa is an experienced personal injury litigator, practicing at Narwarl Litigation in Vancouver. She is also a mentor to law students through the CBABC Mentorship program. She has held appointments to the CBABC Scholarship Task Force and the CBABC Annual Conference Committee. Ms. D’Sa is currently on the executive of the General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section of the CBABC.

This course will take place on Wednesday, May 14 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. It counts as 1 CPD credit.

WESA comes into effect on March 31

Just a reminder that the new Wills, Estates and Succession Act (“WESA“) comes into force on March 31st. WESA will replace the following Acts in their entirety:

  • Estate Administration Act, RSBC 1996 c. 122
  • Probate Recognition Act, RSBC 1996, c. 376
  • Wills Act, RSBC 1996, c. 489
  • Wills Variation Act, RSBC 1996 c.490

WESA also repeals certain sections of the following Acts:

  • Law and Equity Act, RSBC 1996, c. 253, s. 46, 49, 50 and 51
  • Survivorship and Presumption of Death Act, RSBC 1996, c. 444, s. 2.

New probate rules also come into effect on March 31. They can be found in Part 25 of the BC Supreme Court Civil Rules and replaces Rules 21-4 and 21-5.

Please note that as of March 31, all filings respecting an estate will be under the new probate rules and the registry will reject the the former probate forms. Also, as we blogged last October, CLEBC has created a WESA Resource Centre , a portal which connects the user to information and resources on WESA.

 

Law Society to consider proposed TWU law school on April 11

On February 28th, a notice of motion was tabled indicating that LSBC Benchers will consider a resolution regarding the proposed Faculty of Law at Trinity Western University.

The notice of motion comes after both a preliminary approval by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and an authorization to grant law degrees given to TWU by the BC provincial government. Final approval for a TWU faculty of law as “an approved faculty for the purpose of meeting the academic qualification requirement” now rests in the Benchers’ hands.

The April 11 meeting will be webcast to ensure that it is part of an open and transparent process. This will also allow more people to watch and listen than could be accommodated at the Law Society’s premises.

Submissions received by the Law Society prior to the March 3rd deadline will be made available to TWU, and may also be made available on the Law Society’s website. Further details regarding both the submissions and the webcast registration should become available prior to April 11th.

Downtown Community Court evaluation released

The Ministry of Justice released the final evaluation of the Downtown Community Court on March 5.

The DCC is the first court of its kind in Canada and offers “an innovative court model that has the objective of bringing together multiple agencies to address the health and social needs of offenders, reducing recidivism, improving court efficiencies and engaging with the community.”

Three studies make up the evaluation of the DCC and they each examined the three critical objectives:

  • Offender outcomes and recidivism;
  • Court efficiency;
  • Community engagement.

The study on recidivism has undergone an academic peer review to validate its findings and has been published by PLOS ONE, an online scientific journal for peer-reviewed research published by the Public Library of Science.

The findings of the evaluation of the DCC will create a basis for the development of a broader strategy for specialized courts in BC. This strategy is targeted for completion by March, 2015.