This Week in Legal Ethics – New Ethics Ruling

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LegalEthicsBannerThe Law Society’s Ethics Committee recently released the following Ethics Ruling as guidance for the profession. For your convenience, we’ve listed the ruling below but it can also be found in our Ethics Rulings Database.

If you have any questions or concerns  regarding this post, please contact the Law Society at (306) 569-8242 or 1-833-733-0133.

Date:                          September 13, 2018
Cite as:                       2018 SKLSPC 8
Code Chapter:           3.5-5, 3.5-6
Code Heading:          Accounting and delivery
Classification:            Payment of retainer by third party
Practice Area:            Litigation

Facts:

Lawyer X represented Client A.  Members of an organization (the “Third Party”) were present at Lawyer X’s initial meeting with Client A.  A few days after the initial meeting, the Third Party paid Client A’s retainer to Lawyer X.

Several days later, the Third Party made a request to Lawyer X to have the retainer returned as Lawyer X’s services were no longer required.  After speaking with Client A regarding the Third Party’s request, Lawyer X and Client A determined that the funds would not be returned, and no response would be provided to the Third Party.

Sometime later, the Third Party again requested the return of the retainer from Lawyer X and implied the retainer funds had been improperly provided.  Lawyer X again spoke with Client A and subsequently advised the Third Party they would not be returning the retainer.  Lawyer X had no reason to believe the Third Party’s retainer funds had been improperly provided.

Lawyer X did not enter into a retainer agreement with Client A or the Third Party, and no discussions were had as to what would happen in the event any funds remained at the end of Lawyer X’s representation of Client A, in the event representation ceased, or how the money would be treated once received. Lawyer X advised that there were no funds remaining in trust at the end of the file.

Decision:

The Ethics Committee determined that whether the money was properly provided to Lawyer X is a legal issue that needs to be dealt with between Client A and the Third Party.  Once the retainer was provided, Client A controlled the retainer, absent any agreement that dictated otherwise.  To the Committee’s knowledge, there was no such agreement here.

When a lawyer is aware that a third party is paying the lawyer’s retainer, there is an obligation on the lawyer to have conversations with both the client and the third party regarding the payment of a retainer from the third party; i.e.: who directs the matter, what happens to the money if the lawyer withdraws/is terminated before the funds are exhausted, who can apply for taxation, and what is to happen if the third party demands return of the retainer.  These discussions would preferably be reduced to writing, confirmed in the retainer agreement, and agreed to by the client and the third party prior to receipt of the retainer.

Diversity – A Benefit!

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Photo by Brittani Burns on Unsplash

Saskatchewan’s population has grown increasingly diverse over the past 10 years; data from the 2016 Census shows increases in those who identified as being members of several minority or equity-seeking groups.

Diversity has advanced from a mere compliance exercise focused on meeting numbers for various measurable attributes, to the reality that our organizations are increasingly diverse, multicultural and global.

As we recognize Access to Justice Week in Saskatchewan from October 22-29, we engage new and diverse voices in the access to justice conversation and highlight initiatives that aim to improve access to justice for Saskatchewan residents. To this end, the Law Society has partnered with the CBA to offer a full day of programming dedicated to the Benefits of Diversity, on October 23 and 24 in Saskatoon and Regina respectively. The day has been designed by a diverse group of practitioners, judges and LSS staff to address this important topic and ensure relevance to all those who inhabit the legal landscape of the province.

We are delighted to be hosting Ritu Bhasin as our morning presenter. Ritu is a prominent Canadian speaker on the issues associated with equity and diversity in the legal profession.

Terri Karpish, McDougall Gauley’s Director of Professional Development, has known Ritu for a number of years in a number of capacities and had this to say regarding her Saskatchewan visit:

“Ritu is highly regarded as an expert in the diversity field in Canada and the US. I am so excited that she is coming to Saskatchewan!”

Subsequent to Ritu’s workshop, we will welcome a group of local speakers who will focus first on the changes seen in Saskatchewan’s demographics and move to a discussion of local perspectives and lived experience. Our day will be concluded with a session moderated by Chief Justice Richards that will bring us full-circle as we address how diversity in your organization positively impacts business.

As Saskatchewan becomes more diverse, let’s arm ourselves with the necessary skill sets to recognize the way culture impacts our perceptions, beliefs, behaviors and responses.

Saskatchewan Proclamations

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The Animal Protection Act, 2018, SS 2018, c A-21.2, is proclaimed into force September 17, 2018. According to the government news release, the legislation gives “clearer direction for animal protection officers providing intervention or relief of distress. Animals are not considered to be in distress if kept according to the codes of practice that are listed in The Animal Protection Regulations. Additionally, the Act proposes that veterinarians will be required to report suspected animal neglect or abuse to animal protection agencies.”

The Privacy Amendment Act, 2018, SS 2018, c 28, is proclaimed into force September 15, 2018. According to a government news release, The amendments “will allow a person whose intimate image has been distributed without their consent to sue the person who distributed the image.  It will also shift the onus of proof to the person that circulated the image, requiring them to show that they had a reasonable basis to conclude consent had been granted to do so. Additionally, the amendments will remove the requirement that a lawsuit under The Privacy Act proceed only in the Court of Queen’s Bench.  Plaintiffs will have the option to proceed with an action in either small claims or the Court of Queen’s Bench.  This will permit plaintiffs in these cases to choose the less expensive and quicker small claims process, where they are claiming damages less than $30,000.”

The Heritage Property Amendment Act, 2018, SS 2018, c 12, is proclaimed into force September 17, 2018. The amendments update the role of the heritage property Review Board.

The Saskatchewan Value-added Agriculture Incentive Act, SS 2018, c S-35.001, is proclaimed into force September 20, 2018. According to the government news release, “The new incentive … is designed to improve investment attraction and retention outcomes in the province’s value-added agriculture sector.”

Cannabis Legislation in Saskatchewan – Effective When? (Update)

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by Ken Fox 

On October 2, 2018, I made a wager that The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act, SS 2018, c C-2.111, would be proclaimed “somewhere in the vicinity of October 17,” the day the federal Cannabis Act comes into force. Well, I lost the bet.

The act will not be effective in the vicinity of October 17, but exactly on October 17, otherwise known as tomorrow. I’m glad all that was at stake was my dignity! Section 7-6 came into force on May 30. Section 7-10, which updates Clause 293(2)(b) of the Municipalities Act, has not yet been proclaimed.

The original post has been duly updated.

Please Help Spread the Word – 2018 Access to Justice Week Events At a Glance

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By Brea Lowenberger
; Director of CREATE Justice and Access to Justice Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan, College of Law

Access to Justice Week pre-week events are underway! The week officially launches on Saturday, October 20.

Please help spread the word about the week’s events! Share, print, post the downloadable 2018 Access to Justice Week Events at a Glance poster.

PRE-WEEK EVENTS
• Conference on Medical-Legal Partnerships in Saskatchewan, hosted by CREATE Justice, College of Law, College of Medicine,  University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon)
• Law Student Small Urban and Rural Law Firm Trip, supported by the College of Law Career Office, Law Students’ Small Urban and Rural Initiatives Committee, and CBA Saskatchewan Branch (rural centres)
• Dress Like a Pro Bono Lawyer Friday, in support of Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan (province-wide)

WEEK-LONG EVENTS
• Reconciliation, Decolonization, Indigenization – What Do These Words Mean to YOU?, hosted by CLASSIC (Saskatoon)
• Launch of Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project Advertising Campaign, supported by Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information partners (province-wide)

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2018
• Run for Justice Fundraiser in support of CLASSIC, coordinated by the Just Rights Students’ Group, College of Law (Saskatoon – registration required)

MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2018
• A Spotlight on Access to Justice Champions: A Volunteer Appreciation Event, supported by Pro Bono Students Canada – University of Saskatchewan Chapter (Saskatoon)
• The Restorative Action Program: A School-Based, Community-Driven Initiative, presented by The Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Justice Studies (province-wide)
• College of Law Faculty Research Roundtable, supported by CREATE Justice Advisory Committee (Saskatoon – registration required)

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2018
• The Benefits of Diversity, coordinated by the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Bar Association Saskatchewan Branch (Saskatoon – registration required; 6 CPD Ethics hours)
• Saskatchewan Law Review Lecture presented by Orlando Da Silva, “Fostering Support: Mental Health Among Lawyers”, part of the McKercher LLP Lecture Series. 1 CPD credit hour.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2018
• The Benefits of Diversity, coordinated by the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Bar Association Saskatchewan Branch (Regina – registration required; 6 CPD Ethics hours)
• Walk-in Family Law Information Clinic, supported by the Ministry of Justice, Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan volunteer lawyers, Pro Bono Students Canada, and PLEA (Regina)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2018
• An afternoon and evening of Free Legal Resources Tradeshow with Walk-in Family Law Information Clinic, Walk-in Wills and Estates Law Information Clinic, and Legal Information Presentations, supported by the Ministry of Justice, Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan volunteer lawyers, Pro Bono Students Canada, PLEA, other various justice stakeholders and Frances Morrison Central Library (Saskatoon)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2018
• Walk-in Family Law Information Clinic, supported by the Ministry of Justice, Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan volunteer lawyers, Pro Bono Students Canada, and PLEA (Saskatoon)
• French Legal Information Centre of Saskatchewan Information Event, supported by the Centre Info- Justice Saskatchewan (Saskatoon)

Check out the full schedule and registration instructions for events at law.usask.ca/createjustice
SASKATCHEWAN ACCESS TO JUSTICE WEEK OCTOBER 20-26

An Invitation to Participate in SK A2J Week – Events for Lawyers, Law Students, Law Professors

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A2J Week Banner 2018By Brea Lowenberger

Director of CREATE Justice and Access to Justice Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan, College of Law

This post highlights events that may interest lawyers, law students, and/or law professors during the Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week, including CPD events.

PRE-WEEK EVENTS
Conference on Medical-Legal Partnerships in Saskatchewan: Disseminating information to key stakeholders (Saskatoon) Registration FULL
(Email justicehealth_coi@usask.ca for more information and to learn about future related events.)

Law Student Small Urban and Rural Law Firm Trip (Rural Centres)Registration required
(Law students can check their email for more information.)

Dress Like a Pro Bono Lawyer Friday (Province-Wide)
(Donation form and details.)

WEEK-LONG EVENTS
Launch of Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project Advertising Campaign (Province-Wide)
(Join the campaign by downloading and sharing the campaign materials [videos, bookmarks, posters, and documents] when the campaign launches during the week.)

Reconciliation, Decolonization, Indigenization – What Do These Words Mean to YOU? (Saskatoon)
(Taking place in Students’ Lounge, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan throughout the week.)

SAT. OCT. 20
Run for Justice Fundraiser (Saskatoon)Registration required
(Registration information here.)

MON. OCT. 22
A Spotlight on Access to Justice Champions: A Volunteer Appreciation Event (Saskatoon)
(Taking place in Students’ Lounge, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan.)

College of Law Faculty Research Roundtable, supported by CREATE Justice Advisory Committee (Sasktoon)Registration required
(Email createjustice@usask.ca to register.)

Presentation on The Restorative Action Program: A School-Based, Community-Driven Initiative (Saskatoon and Province-Wide)
(Event and live-stream information here.)

TUES. OCT. 23
The Benefits of Diversity (Saskatoon; 6 CPD Ethics hours) Registration required
(Register here.)

Saskatchewan Law Review Lecture presented by Orlando Da Silva, Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General – Fostering Support: Mental Health Among Lawyers (Saskatoon; 1 CPD hour for lawyers)
(Event information here.)

WED. OCT. 24
The Benefits of Diversity (Regina; 6 CPD Ethics hours)Registration required
(Register here.)

FRI. OCT. 26
French Legal Information Centre of Saskatchewan Information Booth (Saskatoon)
(Learn more here.)

Join the conversation!

We want to hear from you! Share your access to justice ideas, work, announcements, photos, reports on social media using the hashtag #SKA2J2018.

Visit law.usask.ca/createjustice for more information.