Rule Changes from September 2019 Bencher Meeting

October 10, 2019

A new version of the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta is now available on our website following changes from the September 2019 Bencher meeting. The Benchers approved changes to the procedure the Law Society follows when reviewing and investigating lawyer conduct (Rule 85).  They also approved changes to the procedures for appeals following conduct hearings (Rules 100, 100.1, 100.2, 100.3, 100.4 and 102)

The Rule 85 changes recognize the advancements made with the introduction of our Early Intervention program.  The changes acknowledge new informal resolution and early intervention activities developed for the protection of the public. The changes include:

  • Referring new matters to either the Resolution and Early Intervention process or the Conduct process.
  • Providing the ability for Early Intervention counsel, along with Conduct counsel, to summarily dismiss matters.
  • Outlining the circumstances in which a summary dismissal may take place.
  • Providing lawyers with resources and support to assist them in avoiding future; and complaints, and ensures our processes are clearly explained in our Rules.

The new rules are being accompanied by the introduction of internal protocols that describe our intake, resolution and early intervention processes.

In addition to the appeal rule changes, a new guideline  was also introduced.  The new rules and guideline establish steps and timelines for appeals, to ensure they move forward in a timely manner and are not delayed.  Existing appeals are subject to transitional rules (Rule 100.3), to ensure they will be concluded and resolved.

The new rules establish the deadlines for payment of the costs of hearing records, applications to waive or reduce costs and applications to file written submissions. As a result of these rule changes, appeals will move forward more efficiently. In the event deadlines are not met, appeals may be dismissed (Rule 100.4) when lawyers fail to advance their matter expeditiously.