On June 6, 2013, the bench and bar of B.C. honoured Chief Justice Lance Finch with a dinner as he retires from the Court of Appeal. The dinner was very well attended, with approximately 1,100 lawyers and various judges and Chief Justices from across Canada, including Chief Justice McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada and Justice Robert Bauman, the Chief Justice of the B.C. Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Finch gave a speech, which can be found here, in which he thanked the many people, family, friends and colleagues, for the support he has received over his career. He also gave important insights into the functioning of the judicial system in B.C. and how it can be more accessible.
Chief Justice Finch recognized the contributions of both the bench and the bar in making the justice system more accessible to the underprivileged. In particular, he highlighted two initiatives of the legal profession in making the justice system more responsive and accessible: the Public Commission on Legal Aid, chaired by Len Doust Q.C. and the Access/ Pro Bono Society. He expresssed concern that in two years, the other branches of government had not enacted recommendations from the Doust Commission. He then commended the legal professsion for providing millions of dollars in legal work for no fee whatever. He applauded Access/Pro Bono Society for facilitating this work.
Chif Justice Finch is succeeded by Chief Justice Robert Baumann as Chief Justice of B.C. and the Yukon.
Via Elan, the Legal Services Society’s publication, “Is Your Client Safe?” has won a Communicator Award of Distinction. The Communicator Awards are among the largest international awards to cover excellence in communications.
The brochure, written for lawyers and legal advocates, identifies signs of abuse in clients and covers what to do if your client is being abused. It includes safety planning informaation and links to resources. It also lets lawyers and legal advocates know where to go for help and how to get it.
Accompanying the brochure is a series of online-only fact sheets on the following topics:
- Encouraging disclosure;
- Client resources – relationship violence;
- Legal resources – relationship violence;
- Safety planning for lawyers and their staff;
- Safety planning for the client
Many different people and agencies came together to produce this brochure. Congratulations to everyone involved in the project!
In the UBC Faculty of Law’s most recent newsletter, it is noted that the UBC Law Course Video Game Law has begun to offer online access to its content this semester, including videos of the lectures and a blog on its website. Taught by Jon Festinger, QC, the course is one of the only courses offered on video game law in North America and the only one that offers its content online.
You can find the following on the course website:
- Professor Festinger’s lectures and power point slides;
- Guest speakers’ lectures;
- A blog;
- News Articles and audio and video resources that pertain to class subjects; and
- Aggregated twitter feeds regarding the course.
Professor Festinger notes that the new course format has increased the level of discussion that happens between the students. ”I cannot describe to you the feeling when your students voluntarily start posting things and engaging in thoughtful remarks about highly legal matters because they want to do it,” Festinger said of the blog. ”And they are learning mor from this than anything else in the course.”
On June 7, 2013, the Prime Minister of Canada announced that Chief Justice Robert Bauman of the B.C. Supreme Court will become Chief Justice of the B.C. Court of Appeal and the Yukon Court of Appeal upon the retirement of Chief Justice Lance Finch on June 16, 2013. He will have the style and title of the Chief Justice of British Columbia. Chief Justice Bauman has been Chief Justice of the B.C. Supreme Court since September 2009. He was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in 1996 and a judge of the Court of Appeal in 2008.
- The Honourable Sunni Stromberg-Stein, a judge of the B.C. Supreme Court, to replace Madam Justice P. Kirkpatrick who elected to become a supernumerary judge;
- The Honourable Peter M. Wilcock, a judge of the B.C. Supreme Court, to replace Madam Justice R.E. Levine, who elected to become a supernumerary judge;
- The Honourable Sheri Ann Donegan, a judge of the Provincial Court of B.C., to replace Mr. Justice R.E. Powers;
- The Honourable Wendy J. Harris, a lawyer with Harris & Company, to replace Madam Justice C.L. Smith;
- The Honourable Ronald A. Skolrood, a lawyer with Lawson Lundell LLLP, to replace Mr. Justice Wilcock;
- The Honourable Lisa A. Warren, a lawyer with the Health Employers Association of B.C., to replace Madam Justice Stromberg-Stein; and
- The Honourable Margot L. Fleming, a lawyer with Somers & Compnay, to replace Mr. Justice R.N. Brown, who was transferred to Chilliwack to replace Mr. Justice W.Grist, who elected to become supernumerary.
The Canadian Bar Association’s National Criminal Justice Conference is coming to Vancouver on June 15th, 2013. The topic of the Conference is the Murder Trial Manual (And How To Do Other Complicated Trials). Chaired by Suhail Aktar, Scarborough Crown Attorneys Office and Eric Gottardi, Peck and Company, Vancouver, this conference will canvas such questions as:
- How do you best approach a murder bail hearing?
- What questions do you ask at a preliminary inquiry?
- What pre-trial motions do you bring?
- What are the evidentiary issues for which you should be looking out?
- What happens when you end up with a sticky ethical problem?
These questions and more will be discussed by senior members of the Criminal bar and members of the judiciary from across Canada. There is a networking reception after the Conference.
The Vancouver Bar Association and Canadian Bar Association BC Branch have announced the details of their upcoming 17th Annual Golf Tournament. It will be held Thursday, August 15th, 2013 at the University Golf Club (UBC).
The event supports student scholarships and includes:
- “18 Holes of Golf
- Best Ball Scramble Tournament
- Buffet Dinner
- Sandwich and Beverage Ticket for Lunch
- Silent Auction
- Loads of Great Prizes”
Registration begins at 11:30am; tee time is 1pm. Golfers may register as single goflers or in groups of four. Dinner-only registration is also available.
Save $30 on registration by registering before June 28th; all registrations must be received by August 8th. See the entry form for more details.
Congratulations to Thompson Rivers University law professor Chris Hunt who was recently awarded the Queen’s Law Journal’s David Watson Memorial Award. The David Watson Memorial Award is given annually for the paper published in Queen’s Law Journal that “makes the most significant contribution to legal scholarship”.
Professor Hunt won for his two articles “Conceptualizing Privacy and Elucidating Its Importance: Foundational Considerations for the Development of Canada’s Fledgling Privacy Tort” and “Privacy in the Common Law: A Critical Appraisal of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s Decision in Jones v. Tsige.”
Both of the winning articles appear in Volume 37 of the Queen’s Law Journal and the plaque with Professor Hunt’s name on it will be on display in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
On May 30, 2013, the BC Court of Appeal issued a new practice directive that clarifies the Court’s requirements on legal citation.
Some of the key points mentioned in this directive include:
- Legal citation standards in the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (7th Ed.)(the “McGill Guide”) are required, except where the directive states otherwise.
- Periods are required to be used in citations even when not required by the McGill Manual.
- Citing to neutral citation first and where a neutral citation is not available, then citing to a printed reporter or electronic service first.
- Citations to a case from an electronic service should use that service’s citation format.
- A new citation format for looseleaf services is specified instead of the McGill Guide format.
- Counsel are encouraged to hyperlink case authorities in the electronic version of their factums to the Superior Courts judgments database, the Supreme Court of Canada collection or CanLII.
- Formal, legalistic language should be avoided,such as hereinafter, hereto and aforesaid as should excess capitalization.
These new rules are effective as of May 30, 2013. For a full copy of the changes, the directive PDF is available for download from the BC Courts website.
Dye & Durham has just released our June 2013 Litigation Calendar.
Each month Dye & Durham releases our free, one-page monthly litigation calendar. It’s published just before the beginning of the month and includes critical information such as:
- Trial submission 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 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 HarbourAir and Helijet that affect our courier services; upcoming Dye & Durham webinars and new services; and new practice directives issued by the courts.
Earlier this month, the BC Court of Appeal ruled that the province’s Attorney General need not have legal training to hold the position. From a post at the Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s Legal Feeds blog, “AG doesn’t need to be a lawyer: B.C. appeal court“,
“The case was sparked after Shirley Bond was appointed as acting attorney general in August 2011, before becoming minister of justice and attorney general in February 2012. She is the first woman to hold these positions in B.C.
B.C. resident Lesslie Askin believed Bond was unqualified to hold the post and contacted the law society, which rejected her complaint on the grounds it lacked the necessary jurisdiction.
Askin took the case to court as a self-represented litigant, arguing that Bond’s appointment was statute barred due to her lack of legal training, and the LSBC was incorrect to say it lacked jurisdiction.”
The BCSC ruled last June that the case was devoid of merit. The firm representing Askin said it has been instructed to appeal this month’s BCCA decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
A Slaw.ca post by Adam Dodek earlier this week provides some analysis of the case, and discusses how other provinces treat this issue. See “The Curious Case of the Non-Lawyer Attorney General: White Tiger of the Legal System“.
Just a final reminder that a new B.C. Limitation Act comes into force on June 1, 2013, replacing the old Limitations Act. The new Act applies to any actions that arise after June 1, 2013. The new Act is a long awaited update, simplifying limitations periods and bringing B.C.”s legislation more in line with modern Limitation Acts found in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Key changes, as outlined by the Ministry of Justice, are as follows:
- the New Act moves to a single, 2 year limitation period for all civil actions, away from a variety of differing limitation periods based on type of claim;
- moving from a general ultimate 30 year limitation period to a single, ultimate 15 year limitation period;
- with respect to the ultimate limitation period, the new Act moves away from an “accrual” method of commencement to a new model of commencement that starts with an “act or omission”; and
- transition rules.
We’re approaching the halfway point of 2013 – how much progress have you made towards your Law Society of BC CPD requirements? Here’s a look at some CDP opportunities next month.
A couple options from the Trial Lawyers Association of BC:
- Navigating Difficult Conversations: Strategies for Positive Outcomes
- The Unruly Witness: How to Get What You Want (And Not Get What You Don’t Want)
- The Interplay Between Aging, Death & Divorce
- CLE-TV: Procrastination
- Bankruptcy and Insolvency 2013
- Legal Strategies in Private Mergers and Acquisitions
- Advanced Conveyancing for Paralegals
- CLE-TV: Accidental Waiver of Privilege
- Personal Injury Conference 2013
- Personal Injury for Paralegals and Legal Support Staff 2013
- Family Violence Screening Training for Dispute Resolution Professionals
- Medical Marihuana 2013
- CLE-TV: Cashing in Your Chips – Selling (or Purchasing) a Practice
- New BC Limitation Act
- Mergers & Acquisitions 2013
- Being External Counsel to Government and Corporate Counsel
- Creating a More Just Society: The Role of Human Rights Advocates in a Global Village
- Gain a Competitive Advantage Beyond “Customer Service”
- The Extradition Act (Canada) and your Client: Letting Bygones Be “Be-Gones”?
- The Cohen Commission and the Uncertain Future of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon: Implications Going Forward for Lawyers
From Canadian Institute:
The University of Victoria Faculty of Law, Visiting NAED Chair, Judith Sayers and the Office of Indigenous Affairs are hosting the Renewable Energy Forum at UVic on May 29th and 30th. It is the latest in an annual series of forums organized by the National Aboriginal Economic Development Chair, a joint appointment between the Law Faculty and the Gustavson School of Business.
The Forum will showcase innovative First Nations renewable energy projects from across the country. The theme is “Partnerships Connecting Power,” and project leaders will present on the types of partnerships that have created the foundations for success in their renewable energy projects.
On another environmental note, Stikeman Elliott once again was the only law firm to make Maclean’s Green 30 list. Stikeman Elliott has made the list for four consecutive years and is the only carbon neutral law firm in Canada. They have reduced their carbon footprint by 13% since 2008.
The Law Society of BC and the Jack Webster Foundation are once again offering a “Law and the Media” Workshop to BC journalists, producers, and editors. The theme of this year’s event is “Major Crimes and Mega Trials”. The 90-minute workshop will be held at the Law Society Building at 6:30pm on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013.
“From the first press release announcing the arrests to the trial of the accused, the workshop will instruct journalists how to navigate a complex, developing story both inside and outside the courtroom. The seminar will explore the legal pitfalls of newsgathering and reporting, including how best to deal with confidential information, anonymous sources and publication bans.”
The event is free, but registration is required. A complimentary meal will be available at 6pm. To register, contact Nora Newlands, Executive Director, Jack Webster Foundation at 604- 261-6184 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BC Civil Liberties Association announced this year’s winners of its 2013 Liberty Awards. The Liberty Awards “celebrate outstanding achievements to protect and promote human rights and freedoms in Canada” and the Liberty Awards recipients are “devoted in their own ways to protecting and expanding hard-won democratic rights and freedoms.”
There are two legal advocacy awards, one for Excellence in Legal Advocacy by an Individual and one for Excellence in Legal Advocacy by a Firm.
The Liberty Award for Excellence in Legal Advocacy by an Individual winner is Sheila Tucker, for her watershed victory in Carter v. Canada (BCSC), which held that the individual has the right to die with dignity and that right is protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. McCarthy Tetrault is the winner of the Liberty Award for Excellence for a firm, for the firm’s superior commitment to providing pro bono legal assistance to promote BCCLA’s mandate of promoting, protecting and expanding human rights and civil liberties in Canada. The firm’s guiding lawyer for this program is Michael Feder. Congratulations!
The Liberty Awards will be given out on June 12, 2013, at the 2013 Annual Liberty Awards Gala. The keynote speaker will be Dr. David Suzuki. Tickets are available through the BCCLA’s website, bccla.org.