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B.C. law society issues practice direction for tribunal proceedings

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 @ 2:38 PM | By Ian Burns

The Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) has issued a practice direction on how to proceed with tribunal hearings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Craig Ferris announced the new direction April 27. The law society tribunal is the body that adjudicates disciplinary matters, contentious applications for enrolment in articles, call and admission and reinstatement as a lawyer. As the law society’s offices have been closed since March 17, it has not been possible to proceed with the ongoing business of the tribunal on the basis of in-person proceedings. A number of hearings have been rescheduled or, in a few cases, have proceeded by alternative means.

The law society says the business of the tribunal must continue in the public interest and in fairness to the respondents and applicants concerned. The direction is intended to give specific guidance on conducting hearings and reviews in an “expeditious and fair manner” using alternative methods to the in-person oral hearings that have previously been the norm. It applies to discipline and credentials hearings and section 47 reviews.

The direction will remain in effect until further notice.