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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Printable Version

In this issue:
Message from the President: June Bencher Retreat Discussed Alternative Business Structures
"Merging Worlds, Emerging Discourses" sets the theme for International Legal Ethics Conference
There’s Still Time to Have Your Say in the Evaluation of the CPD Program

Message from the President: June Bencher Retreat Discussed Alternative Business Structures

By Steve Raby, QC, President, Law Society of Alberta

The June meeting of the Benchers is traditionally an opportunity to go into retreat and focus on an emerging issue.

For several days, Benchers met in Jasper with invited guests from several other Law Societies and discussed the theme of Alternative Business Structures: How the consumer interest changes the role of the regulator.  As we strive to be a model regulator, we need to be aware of what is happening in the legal profession and with legal regulators across Canada and around the world.

The guest speaker, Samantha Barass, of the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England provided several insightful presentations on her organization’s consumer-based regulation which is risk-based and outcome focused.  In England, the regulatory objectives are centred on protecting and promoting the public interest, improving access to justice, promoting competition in the provision of services, and increasing public understanding of citizens’ legal rights and duties.

In addition to independent regulation, the Legal Services Act sets out provisions for an independent separate legal complaints body, and new forms of legal service provision including 100 per cent non-lawyer ownership of law firms.

For the Benchers of the Law Society, this perspective helps us to understand some of the new regulatory models being implemented in other jurisdictions around the world, and the Benchers will continue to monitor the English developments.

Business Meeting Highlights

We were fortunate to have the Honourable Jonathan Denis, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta provide an update on the changes happening within the Department of Justice and its new and ongoing initiatives.

The Benchers formally appointed and welcomed Bencher Derek Van Tassell to fill the vacancy left by Don Scott who was elected MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin.

The Benchers approved a motion to enable students involved in the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) process to enroll in the CPLED program while awaiting their NCA exam marks.  Previously, NCA students required their marks before applying to CPLED which starts in September and October each year.  Currently, NCA exam results are not available until November.


"Merging Worlds, Emerging Discourses" sets the theme for International Legal Ethics Conference

Plan to attend the fifth International Legal Ethics Conference to be held at The Banff Centre on July 12-14, 2012.

Over 150 presenters and 40 panels will focus on four streams: Culture, Ethics and Society; Empirical Approaches to Legal Ethics; Regulation of the Profession; and Philosophy and Legal Ethics. Members of the Conference organizing committee include co-chairs Professor Alice Woolley of the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary and Professor Richard Devlin of the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.

Lawyers are encouraged to attend, and can register up to the start of the conference. Full details on the program, schedule and registration are available at


There’s Still Time to Have Your Say in the Evaluation of the CPD Program

As a lawyer with the Law Society of Alberta, your feedback on the Continuing Professional Development Program is key to the overall evaluation being conducted by Charis Management Consulting Inc.

This short survey should take approximately 15 minutes.  When you have completed the survey, you have the option to enter a draw.  The prizes to be won are two $25.00 Starbucks gift cards and two $25.00 Chapters/Indigo gift cards.

The survey can be completed online by accessing the link below:  

Please note, your privacy is protected in this online format.  Your responses will be known only to the Charis evaluators.  Anonymous results will be reported only when included with all other data from survey respondents.  If you choose to provide your name and email for the draw, they will not be attached to the data.

The survey deadline has been extended to midnight on June 20th. 

Your participation is valued as the results will inform the Law Society of Alberta’s evaluation of the CPD Program.  Thank you.


Law Society of Alberta

Fatal Accidents Act – Bereavement Damages Review

Section 8 of the Fatal Accidents Act allows certain family members of a deceased individual killed by a wrongdoer the right to claim bereavement damages from that wrongdoer for grief and loss of companionship.  The amounts of bereavement damages are set by the Act, and are currently under review.  Alberta Justice and Solicitor General is seeking input from interested practitioners on the adequacy of the damages amounts. 

The paper is online at

Comments may be submitted to
until June 29, 2012.


Printable Version
Law Society of Alberta
Calgary Office
Suite 500, 919 11th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 1P3
Phone: 403-229-4700

Edmonton Office
Suite 800, Bell Tower
10104-103 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 0H8
Phone: 780-429-3343

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