Keep your practice current
by Fran Hodgkins
The following are brief summaries of several recent Section meetings held throughout the province. Section enrolment provides free access to all current and archived minutes online at www.cba.org/bc.
Aboriginal Law – Vancouver Island
Meeting: February 21, 2006
Speaker: Provincial Court Judge Steven Point
Topic: The Treaty Negotiation Process: Current Issues and Developments
Provincial Court Judge Steven Point was appointed Chief Commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission by agreement of the governments of Canada and British Columbia and the First Nations Summit, effective February 28, 2005. He has been a provincial court judge since February 1999. Judge Point served as the Tribal Chair of the Sto:lo Nation from 1994 to 1999 and elected Chief of Skowkale First Nation for 15 years between 1975 and 1999. Among the many issues raised at this well-attended meeting in Victoria, Judge Point discussed communication between First Nations and local governments, as they are the ones who will work with the Treaty once it is in effect.
Administrative Law – Vancouver
Meeting: March 2, 2006
Speaker: Gregory Levine, Associate Professor, University of Western Ontario
Topic: Government Ethics Law – Trends and Prospects
A unique form of administrative law and government ethics law has grown tremendously in the last 20 years. Ethics codes, lobbyist laws and the like have sprung up, as have the administrative tools necessary to promote and enforce them. Mr. Levine discussed recent trends federally, in B.C. and Ontario, and contrasted aspects and trends in the setting of rules and mechanisms used in current ethics regimes.
ADR – Nanaimo
Meeting: March 2, 2006
Speaker: Charles Hill, ADR Practitioner and Facilitator; Marjorie Kamp, Vancouver Island Health Authority
Topic: Elder Mediation: Shared Family Decision Making
Mediation provides an opportunity for the elder and all concerned members of a family to participate in creating a thoughtful plan for the future. Mr. Hill and Ms. Kamp presented a workshop where small groups discussed and described three different scenarios and outcomes of four diverse elder families. Mediators trained in issues relating to estates, eldercare, and social gerontology can help facilitate family discussions about matters relating to safety, finances and capabilities while keeping in mind the seniors’ desire for individual control and respect.
After 19 years as the author of the much-beloved "Section Talk" column, Shelley Bentley has decided it’s time to pass on the "Sections" torch. The entire profession has benefited from Shelley's valuable contributions to BarTalk. We sincerely thank Shelley for her dedication and wish her all the best.
Civil Litigation – Vancouver
Meeting: February 8, 2006
Speaker: Dr. Martin Felsky, a lawyer and CEO of Commonwealth Legal, Canada’s largest litigation document management services company
Topic: Wrestling with Electronic Discovery: Current Case Law in Canada and the Impact of the Ontario Task Force Guidelines
Dr. Felsky provided an overview of the law, strategy, and practice of electronic discovery in Canada, including the Ontario Task Force Guidelines, their meaning and impact. He also reviewed pertinent Canadian case law, developing e-production protocols in British Columbia, and some real-life e-discovery disasters.
Criminal Justice – Vancouver
Meeting: March 1, 2006
Speakers: Stephen Bindman, Mary Ainslie, Tamara Levy, Peter Wilson, QC, Richard Fowler
Topic: Preventing Wrongful Convictions
Each guest speaker presented his or her thoughts and experience on how best to educate current and future lawyers about the important issues raised by the reports on wrongful conviction cases. One of the most notorious cases of wrongful conviction in Canada, the Thomas Sophonow case, was discussed.
Meeting: January 25, 2006
Speaker: Heather Michaud, Vice-Consul, Canadian Consulate in Seattle
Topic: Immigration Operations in Seattle
Section members e-mailed questions and issues to Ms. Michaud in advance of this meeting. Ms. Michaud gave an overview of operational issues at the Seattle visa office. She refrained from making comments on policy, given the recent change in the federal government. Ms. Michaud dealt with a number of specific issues with regard to preparing applications and submitting supporting evidence.
Pensions, Benefits and Compensation
Meeting: February 23, 2006
Speaker: Thomas G. Anderson, QC
Topic: Part 6 of the Family Relations Act – Proposed Revisions
Mr. Anderson, who has had extensive involvement with issues of pension division on marriage breakdown, discussed the work of the Pension Division Committee of the British Columbia Law Institute, which is reviewing Part 6 of the Family Relations Act. Mr. Anderson also worked through an example constructed to show how the various models of pension division across Canada would approach the problem, and what can be learned from those models. This was one of several meetings intended to present the Committee’s work and solicit input for legislative reform.
Meeting: March 2, 2006
Speaker: Dan Miller, Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Topic: Significant Reforms to U.S. Securities Laws
In December of 2005, significant reforms were made to U.S. securities laws that will affect all Canadian issuers offering securities in the United States. Dan Miller from the Vancouver office of Dorsey & Whitney LLP spoke of recent reforms to U.S. securities laws and provided a PowerPoint presentation to the attendees.
Young Lawyers – Victoria
Meeting: February 15, 2006
Speakers: Associate Chief Judge B. Neal and Judge A. Palmer
Topic: Advocating Effectively in Small Claims Court; and How the $25,000 Limit has Changed Provincial Court Trials
The monetary jurisdiction of the Court was increased to $25,000 to allow more claims to be brought in Small Claims Court, rather than Supreme Court, and to provide greater access to the court system. The Small Claims Act allows the jurisdiction to be increased to up to $50,000 by regulation and there have been discussions about increasing the limit as high as $100,000.
Upcoming Section Meetings
April 11 – Family Law – Nanaimo
April 18 – Aboriginal Law – Vancouver Island
April 19 – Taxation Law
April 26 – Women Rainmakers – Vancouver Island
May 3 – Women Rainmakers – Vancouver Island
May 5 – Joint ADR/Family Law – Okanagan
You can access your Section’s upcoming meeting notices online at www.cba.org/bc under “Section News” on the home page.
The Law Society now requires lawyers to report annually on their professional development activities. The Benchers also now encourage each practising lawyer in B.C. to complete a minimum of 12 hours of coursework (the equivalent of two full course days) and 50 hours of self-study each year. The targets are set as minimum expectations for the profession but are not mandatory. Attendance at CBA Section presentations is reportable as coursework, and review of Section minutes/ materials is reportable as self-study hours (as long as it is not for the purpose of research for a file/case).
Section Enrolment 2005 - 2006
Section activity for this year will conclude at the end of June. It's not too late to enroll! Enrolled members can access current and past minutes and Section Papers on the CBABC website www.cba.org/bc at no charge. CBABC members receive one Section free. Not a Section member? You can download a Section enrolment order form at www.cba.org/bc under "Section News" on the home page.
Fran Hodgkins is the CBABC Section Coordinator. She welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions. Tel: 604-646-7857 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was published in the April 2006 issue of BarTalk. © 2006 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.