Month: January 2018
The following regulations were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 113 No. 51, December 22, 2017:
- SR 133/2017 The Enforcement of Money Judgments Amendment Regulations, 2017
- SR 134/2017 The Personal Property Security Amendment Regulations, 2017
- SR 135/2017 The Provincial Health Authority Administration (Exempt Property) Amendment Regulations, 2017
- SR 136/2017 The Provincial Lands (Agriculture) Amendment Regulations, 2017
The Law Society’s Ethics Committee recently released the following Professional Conduct Ruling as guidance for the profession. For your convenience, I’ve listed the ruling below but it can also be found in our Professional Conduct Rulings Database.
Date: November 30, 2017
Cite as: 2017 SKLSPC 3
Code Chapter: n/a
Code Heading: n/a
Classification: Providing Legal Advice via Technology
Practice Area: Real Estate
Two lawyers raised separate requests for guidance about the use of technology to sign or witness documents:
Lawyer X asked whether a lawyer can meet with a client via Skype or Facetime, and then the client signs a document that is visible to the lawyer through video-conferencing. The client then sends that original document back to the lawyer, who upon receipt signs as witness.
Lawyer X noted that s.22 of The Land Titles Regulations requires that clients when signing documents be “in the presence of the lawyer” when signing.
Lawyer X asked the Ethics Committee to determine whether a client can be considered “in the presence of the lawyer” through skype technology.
Lawyer Y raised an issue with Lawyers executing certificates of independent legal advice using technology, where legislation requires the member to “attend in person”. Lawyer Y contacted the Department of Justice and was advised that there are no pending or scheduled legislative amendments and it was not something that they had plans to consider.
Lawyer Y asked that the matter be put before the Ethics Committee to determine whether a lawyer can provide independent legal advice to a client via video conferencing technology and, in doing so, meet the standard of having “attended in person” as required by certain legislation such as The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act.
The Ethics Committee determined that there needs to be a balance between needing to verify identity and that we live in a modern world.
The Committee did not have an issue with providing legal advice via technology, as long as it is appropriate and sufficient for the client’s needs.
The Committee questioned whether there is the legislative framework to allow a signature via technology. There is an opportunity for change. These issues may require legislative changes. It is not for the Law Society to determine whether lawyers can alter jurats to reflect that a document was sworn via web-conference. This will be up to the Legislature and the Courts.
As far as signing a document using technology, it depends on the document: what it says, what the lawyer is swearing, etc. Simply acting as a witness may be permitted, depending on the document. There are certain documents that cannot be signed via technology, due to legislation: testamentary documents, ISC transfer documents. Further, if a lawyer is purporting to have personally seen someone sign a document (in an affidavit or notarized document, for example), then the lawyer needs to be personally there to witness it. This comes directly from the BC Case, First Canadian Title v. Law Society of British Columbia: “attended in person” means that the lawyer attended in person and not via technology. Therefore, ‘in the presence of a lawyer” means that the client is in the physical, presence of a lawyer.
Members should be aware of the BC Case and follow it.
Just before Christmas, the Law Society Library launched Primo, our new cataloguing system. Going forward, Primo will be the best way to locate legal information in Saskatchewan: ebooks, textbooks, articles, case law, precedents, government documents – everything! It’s your key to discovering all the resources in the Law Society Library’s legal collection.
Our previous cataloguing system was limited in that it only allowed users to search the library’s print materials. However, the Law Society offers many more resources for both our members and the public. The new system will allow one-stop-shopping to all our current and future resources – including direct links to materials. In phases over the next year, we will be including the following in the catalogue:
- All Law Society created materials – including those found on our Practice Resource page, Publications page, and Members’ Section
- All commercial databases and online resources housed in the Members’ Section
- CPD materials – including recorded versions of webinars
- Any future resources or documents added to the Law Society website
- Resources from outside sources and include links. For example, we can include all PLEA resources.
So if you are searching for a particular subject area, such as will and estates, the catalogue will list all print, online, CPD or outside source we have entered. Stay tuned for updates throughout the year on the progress of this project. In the meantime, please watch the free recorded webinar on Primo to learn how to best use the system. The webinar qualifies for 1 CPD hour.
Small Claims Act
The Small Claims Act, 2016, SS 2016, c S-50.12 is proclaimed into force January 1, 2018. The act replaces The Small Claims Act, 1997, and makes a number of changes to update and enhance the Small Claims process, including:
- providing the Court expanded authority to award costs;
- requiring all defendants and third parties to file a reply to a claim;
- clarifying when a default judgment can be obtained;
- authorizing the Court to make a finding of contempt in appropriate circumstances;
- providing judges express inquisitorial powers; and
- making additional housekeeping and administrative changes.
The Small Claims Regulations, 2017, RRS c S-50.12 Reg 1, were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 113, No. 35, September 1, 2017, pg. 648. The regulations also come into force on January 1, 2018.
Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, 2017, SS 2017, c 17 is proclaimed into force January 1, 2018.
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, 2017, SS 2017, c 12, is proclaimed into force January 1, 2018.
The Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner has commented on both amendments.
Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases
The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act, SS 2010, c M-2.01, except s 2(a), (b), (g) to (i), (n), (o), (q), (t), (w ), (x), 7(2)(i) to (l), (n), (o), 7(7), 7(8), 10 to 16, 20, 22, 24 to 60, 66, 75(4)(e), 75(5), 75(6), 77, 78(1)(b), 78(11), 84(1)(b), (e), (g), (i), (j), (l), (s), (u) to (w ) and (z), is proclaimed into force January 1, 2018.
Bencher, Law Society of Saskatchewan
The Law Society regularly receives enquiries from lawyers regarding the rules relating to the storage, composition, and destruction of client files. Increasingly, these enquiries include questions relating to the proper use of electronic, or “paperless” filing systems. Law Society Practice Advisors have indicated that they are seeing a significant increase in attempts by practitioners to run “paperless”, or fully electronic filing systems. The Rules of the Law Society of Saskatchewan do not dictate either that client files need to be in paper format, or that lawyers are entitled to maintain digital (electronic) client files. The Rules apply in the same fashion, regardless of the format of a client file. A lawyer must be in a position to produce a complete file to the Law Society or to a Practice Advisor of the Law Society, on demand.
For some, the concept of a digital client file is unnerving, but with the right digital file system, there are many advantages including advanced search capabilities and lack of the need for physical file storage space. Just as ‘brads’ are an important part of keeping correspondence on a paper client file in chronological order, digital file naming conventions are key for filing correspondence chronologically in a digital client file.
In order to assist members who are maintaining digital client files, or who are thinking about starting a digital practice, the Law Society’s Professional Standards Committee formed a small sub-committee consisting of lawyers Colin Clackson, Q.C., Andrew Mason and Riley Potter, together with Benchers, Ronni Nordal and David Rusnak, Q.C.
Colin, Andrew and Riley all maintain electronic client files, and each has their own way of managing files. It became clear quite quickly that, just as is the case with paper client files, there are a number of different ways a proper client file can be maintained, and each member will need to determine what works best for him/her. After sharing ideas and much discussion, the Committee has developed a document entitled “Practice Tips for Maintaining a Digital Practice”, for the assistance of the membership.
We hope these Practice Tips will assist members in setting up and maintaining a proper digital client file system. To further assist, a webinar will be presented in March 2018 featuring Law Society of Saskatchewan Practice Advisor, Jeffrey Scott, Q.C., and Sub-Committee member, Colin Clackson, Q.C. Jeff will review the expectations of the Practice Advisors when requesting to review a client file (whether paper or electronic) and some of the pitfalls members have fallen into when not properly maintaining client files. Colin will then show examples of a digital law practice and client files, that will make even those members who still only have a ‘flip phone’ realize that it truly is possible to have digital client files and a digital law practice. For more information about the upcoming webinar, please visit the Continuing Professional Development page.
By Sarah Roussel-Lewis
Some interesting reads to help you ease into your week:
- Canadian Appeal Court decides “Virtual Presence” is enough for production order for user information against non-Canadian company (Canadian Privacy Law Blog)
- In the Media: Modern Treaties & land Claim Agreements (University of Albert Faculty of Law, Faculty Blog)
- Legal pot won’t slow market for medical marijuana: advocate (CBC)
- R v Boutilier: The Dangerous Offender Regime and the Spectre of Indeterminate Sentences (The Court)
- Saving the Golden Goose: Part II – Including Specialized Professions as an Alternative Option to the Traditional Court System (Family LLB)
- Top Legal Risks for Business in 2018 – Cybersecurity, Data Protection and Privacy (Canadian Cybersecurity Law)
Webinar: Common Cyber Dangers and How to Avoid Them (CPD-189)
This webinar is being held on:
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 from 12pm to 1 pm (Sask.Time) | Qualifies for 1 CPD hour all of which qualifies as Ethics
With ever increasing effort and imagination, hackers and fraudsters continue to target lawyers and law firms. On a daily basis, phishing emails, bad cheque scams and other sophisticated frauds are being used in attempts to breach law firm systems and steal trust funds.
This webinar is being presented by Dan Pinnington, VP of Claims Prevention and Stakeholder Relations at the Lawyers Professional Indemnity Company.
For more details and to register: Common Cyber Dangers and How to Avoid Them
Webinar: Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan’s Proposed Land Charges Act (CPD-190)
This webinar is being held on:
Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 12pm to 1pm (Sask. Time) | Qualifies for 1 CPD hour
Professor Ron Cuming will present the Law Reform Commission’s tentative proposals for a new Land Charges Act for Saskatchewan. Professor Cuming has identified three principal problems with Saskatchewan’s current real property security law: (1) the law lacks conceptual unity and structural coherence, (2) enforcement is inefficient; and (3) it results in an unnecessary use of court resources. The proposed Land Charges Act addresses these problems by codifying, modifying, and compiling Saskatchewan’s laws in relation to real property security into one statute. The webinar will discuss the proposed legislation and describe the Law Reform Commission’s consultation process for this project.
Please join Professor Ron Cuming from the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan, for this must-see webinar.
For more details and to register: Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan’s Proposed Land Charges Act
Webinar: Proposed Tax Changes for “Income Sprinkling” and Private Corporation Tax Planning – Where are we now? (CPD-195)
This webinar is being held on:
Monday, February 5, 2018 from 12pm to 1pm (Sask. Time) | Qualifies for 1 CPD hour
Since the Department of Finance proposed significant changes to the taxation of private corporations and their shareholders on July 18, 2017, business owners have been waiting for more clarity on what those changes mean to them. There were some updates in October and then December 13th the Department of Finance released revised proposals. The webinar will provide an overview of these latest updates and what this will mean for the current and future structuring of your own professional practices and your clients’ businesses.
The webinar will be presented by both Laurie Hudema, CPA, CA, and Clint Gifford, CPA, CA both partners with Virtus Group Regina.
For more details and to register: Proposed Tax Changes for “Income Sprinkling” and Private Corporation Tax Planning–Where are we now?
For up-to-date information on educational programming and events visit us at Continuing Professional Development.