B.C. Legal Profession Act amendments passed

Bill 40, the Legal Profession Amendment Act, 2012 providing much needed updates to the Legal Profession Act (1998) has passed in the British Columbia Legislature and will give the Law Society of B.C. powers to suspend or disbar lawyers for crimes committed outside Canada.

It will provide the LSBC with more “authority to regulate the legal profession in the public interest,” a news release said.

“The passage of this bill is the result of a significant effort on the part of the Ministry of Justice,” said Bruce LeRose, president of the LSBC.

The amendments to the act include:
•    An updated mandate that highlights the commitment of the LSBC to protection the public interests in the administration of justice.
•    Decisions of LSBC hearing panels are subject to review by a board that will include persons who are not lawyers.
•    Where it is in the public interest, the LSBC will have the authority to suspend a lawyer under investigation or impose conditions on the lawyer’s practice.
•    Maximum fines for lawyer misconduct will be increased to be more in line with those of other professional bodies and to act as a greater deterrent.
•    The LSBC will have the ability to require witnesses to answer questions and produce records in an investigation into a lawyer’s conduct.
•    The LSBC will be able to suspend or disbar lawyers convicted of a wider range of serious crimes, which will also be extended to include those committed outside Canada.
•    The elected and appointed board of governors, not all lawyers, will set the annual fees paid by lawyers to fund the LSBC.

More on the amendments here.

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