Amendments to the Law Society Act, 1999
Please note that there have been several recent amendments to the Law Society Act, 1999. One of the most significant of these is the introduction of a program called the Fitness to Practice Program (the “FTPP”). Prior to these legislative amendments, all allegations concerning members would have to be addressed through the Law Society’s discipline proceedings; however, those proceedings provide limited opportunity for determining the root of the problem. The FTPP will allow for an alternate process to address allegations concerning a member’s capacity to practice law with reasonable skill and judgment when substantially impaired by a physical, mental or emotional condition, disorder or addiction. Participation in this program will be voluntary on the part of the member involved.
Additional amendments provide:
- the vice-president with the authority to conduct investigations;
- the vice-president and the CAC with the authority to delegate investigations to staff;
- that various persons must report criminal activity;
- for the modernization of publication (i.e., on the Law Society’s website, to two media outlets and through databases, instead of mandatory publication in a newspaper);
- that honorary benchers cannot vote at convocations;
- for the designation of the president as the presiding officer instead of the CEO; and
- clarification on how the mobility agreement applies to taxation in the province.
These amendments will increase administrative efficiency, clarify ambiguity and strengthen the Law Society’s ability to regulate the practice of law and the legal profession in the province, in the public interest.
All of the amendments can be viewed on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s website.