In order to accommodate changes to The Legal Profession Act, significant amendments were required in some areas of the Law Society Rules. We also took the opportunity to take a close look at our Rules and make improvements where necessary.
Our amended Rules come into effect January 1, 2020. The Rules have been reordered and renumbered as needed. We also modernized the language and completed housekeeping changes. The end result is a cleaner, more intuitive structure and numbering of the Rules. For your convenience, a Table of Concordance is available.
The following is a summary of the changes:
Part 1 Definitions and Interpretation
Several definitions have been moved from other parts of the Rules into the main definition section, where those definitions apply to the Rules in their entirety, rather than specific to the Part.
New definitions have been added to accommodate Firm Regulation and the Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Model Rules.
An interpretation Rule is added to ensure that the Rules are interpreted in accordance with the principles in The Legislation Act (formerly known as The Interpretation Act, 1995).
Part 9 Firm Regulation *New Part*
Starting January 1, 2020, all law firms in the province must register with the Law Society. Law firm registration is a component of the Law Society’s shift towards proactive regulation. The purpose of firm regulation is to foster a more collaborative relationship between the Law Society and its members, including firms, and to help lawyers and firms manage risk so that the likelihood of conduct leading to a complaint or negligence is minimized.
The primary contact person with your law firm can expect an email from the Society asking for confirmation of firm information and appointment of a Designated Representative in early January 2020. Please see below for more detailed information and visit our website for more information on the development of firm regulation.
Part 10 Alternative Legal Service Providers *New Part*
This Part was added to accommodate changes to the Act and implement the recommendations of the Legal Services Task Team. The Task Team recommended the expansion of the list of exemptions to the unauthorized practice provisions and the creation of limited licenses for legal services that can be granted by the Law Society on a case-by-case basis. The Society will be engaging with the relevant stakeholders through further consultations and pilot projects as it works to develop the necessary rules and framework needed to support and implement this regulatory process over the next 18-24 months. As mentioned above, the exceptions to unauthorized practice are now contained in the Rules.
A definition of legal information has also been included. Please stay tuned in 2020 for guidelines to assist in distinguishing the difference between legal information and legal advice.
Part 11 Professional Responsibility
Significant amendments to the Professional Responsibility section of the Rules were made in order to accommodate changes to the Act. In particular, all references to committees, other than the Conduct Investigation Committee, have been removed and all procedures of the Hearing Committee, including penalties that can be assessed, have been moved to the Rules.
Part 12 Insurance
Rule 605 (now 1202) has been amended to clarify that members who are exempt from paying insurance are excluded from coverage by CLIA.
Part 15 Accounting
Amendments were made to this Part to reflect the Federation’s Model Rules on Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. Please see our previous post for more information. Sample forms are available and there will be an upcoming webinar regarding these changes.
Part 16 Reporting Requirements
Amendments were made to this Part to facilitate firm regulation requirements, as well as align reporting requirements and fee assessments with other areas of the Rules.