Rule Changes from the May 2020 Board Meeting

May 26, 2020

A new version of the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta is now available on our website following changes from the May 2020 Board meeting.

Rule amendments include:

  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Rule Suspension;
  • Amendments to ALIA Rules; and
  • CPLED appeals process.
CPD Rule Suspension

At the February 2020 Bencher meeting, the Benchers resolved to suspend the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program as follows:

That the Benchers immediately suspend the mandatory CPD filing requirement for the profession for the years 2020 and 2021. While the CPD planning tool would remain available for those who want it, it would not be mandatory and no administrative suspensions would take place.

To operationalize this motion, Rules 67.2 and 67.3 required formal suspension. This removes the requirement to prepare and declare a plan, as well as the automatic administrative suspension for failure to do so. These two Rules are suspended for a period of two years while the Law Society reviews the CPD program. Rule 67.1 remains in place to provide guidance to lawyers regarding how CPD is defined by the Law Society should they wish to continue to use the CPD planning tool or to undertake CPD activities.

Amendments to ALIA Rules

At the request of the ALIA Board, the Law Society reviewed Rules 150 and 145.1 and approved amendments to both.

Rule 150(2)(a) is amended to strike the words “group policy” and replaced with “indemnity program”. This provides clear authorization to ALIA to make payments, in appropriate circumstances, of all or part of the indemnification payable in respect of a claim under the indemnity program in its entirety, not specifically limited only to the group policy, as it was in the previous wording. This applies to the rare circumstance where ALIA makes an ex gratia payment, as appropriate, in response to a claim that is not barred by the indemnity program.

Rule 145.1 is amended to clarify that the ALIA Board is not limited to making investigations and recommendations to the Benchers regarding only any form of insurance, but may also do so with regards to any form of indemnity as well.

CPLED Appeals Process

The Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) has developed a new bar admission course – the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP). CPLED has already undergone pilots and will formally launch and deliver PREP in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia starting June 2020.

CPLED has developed a new appeal process for PREP, to replace the current appeal process that is administered by the Law Society. This will allow PREP to operate in a consistent manner across all four provincial jurisdictions and ensure consistency and efficiency.

Rule amendments to facilitate this process and to remove the appeal process for the legacy CPLED Program include adding new definitions and removing outdated ones (Rule 47) and revisions to the rule regarding a student’s participation in the bar admission course (Rule 56). It also includes amending the rule to provide that PREP must be completed within three, rather than two, years immediately preceding enrolment (Rule 60).

Finally, with the transition from the legacy CPLED Program to PREP, students who are currently enrolled in or have just completed the legacy CPLED Program may be caught in the transition phase. Additional rule amendments accommodate these students.