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Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador

Professional Responsibility Policy

NAME OF POLICY Publication – Discipline Proceedings
APPLICABLE SECTION OF THE LAW SOCIETY ACT, 1999 AND LAW SOCIETY RULES

Law Society Act, 1999,

Sections 47, 51 and 81

Law Society Rules 9.06(5), 9.06(6), 9.07 and 9.28

Approved by Benchers

Effective

February 7, 2014

(Replaces DP08-01)

Reviewed

June 8, 2018

Revised

June 8, 2018

 

1.1       The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador (LSNL), pursuant to the Law Society Act, 1999 (the Act), regulates the practice of law and the legal profession in the public interest.  Part II of the Act – Discipline Proceedings – outlines the investigative and hearing processes.

1.2       In recognition of the requirement for openness, transparency and accountability in Discipline Proceedings, the following policies will apply to the LSNL’s distribution of information.

2.1       Discipline Proceedings Before the Complaints Authorization Committee (“CAC”)

2.1.1    Subject to the Act and the Law Society Rules (LSR), the LSNL will not provide public notices and information concerning the following discipline proceedings:

  1. Files at the pre-authorization stage;
  2. Files resulting in a letter of counsel;
  3. Files resulting in a letter of caution;
  4. Files which have been resolved and/or dismissed; and
  5. Files in which a CAC determination and/or dismissal is the subject of an appeal or a judicial review application.

2.1.2 For purposes of this policy, pre-authorization stage is defined as matters in which the CAC has not made a final determination.

2.1.3   This policy is subject to the CAC’s discretion to provide notice of the circumstances giving rise to letters of counsel and letters of caution pursuant to LSR 9.06(5) and also the requirement to notify the complainant pursuant to LSR 9.06(6).

3.1       Discipline Proceedings Before the Adjudication Tribunal

3.1.1    In accordance with the Act and the LSR, the LSNL will provide the following information concerning all files which have been authorized as complaints.

3.1.2    Notice of Referral to Hearing Before an Adjudication Tribunal

  1. Subject to 3.1.4, the LSNL will publish the notice of referral to a hearing (“Notice of Referral”) no earlier than 15 days after service of the complaint on the respondent.
  2. The Notice of Referral will be published on the Society’s website and will include
  1. the respondent’s name; and
  2. the general nature of the charges.

3.1.3    Notice of Hearing Date

  1. Subject to 3.1.4, the LSNL will publish notice of the hearing (“Notice of Hearing Date”) following service of the notice on the respondent and as soon as practical after the hearing date is scheduled.
  2. The Notice of Hearing Date will be published on the Society’s website and will include the information outlined in 3.1.2(b) along with the date(s), time and location for the hearing.

3.1.4    Notice of Application to Vary the Content of the Notice of Referral and/or Notice of Hearing Date

    The respondent may give to the LSNL written notice of an intention to make application to the Adjudication Tribunal to vary the content of the Notice of Referral and/or the Notice of Hearing Date (the “Notices”).

  1. The respondent shall provide the LSNL with such written notice within fourteen (14) days of service of the complaint.
  2. The respondent shall file an application to vary with the Adjudication Tribunal at the earliest possible opportunity and the application shall be considered at a prehearing conference.
  3. In the event the respondent gives the LSNL notice in accordance with s. 3.1.4(a), the LSNL shall not publish the Notice of Referral and/or the Notice of Hearing Date until the Adjudication Tribunal makes a determination on the respondent’s application to vary either or both Notices.
  4. The Adjudication Tribunal may give directions regarding the content of the Notice(s) and must provide reasons where a variance is allowed.
  5. The LSNL shall comply with the directions given by the Adjudication Tribunal.

3.1.5 The Complaint

  1. The LSNL will file the complaint as an exhibit with the Adjudication Tribunal. Distribution of the complaint is within the discretion of the Adjudication Tribunal.
  2. The names of the clients and all other third party non-lawyers, including any identifying information, will be referenced by initials for privacy reasons.

3.1.6    Decisions and Orders

  1. Subject to a non-publication order, all decisions and orders of the Adjudication Tribunal made in accordance with ss. 50(2)(m), 51(3) and 51(5) of the Act will be made available on the Law Society website and provided to CanLII for publication following the expiry of the 30-day statutory appeal period.
  2. Subject to a non-publication order, notice of all decisions and orders of the Adjudication Tribunal made in accordance with ss. 50(2)(m), 51(3) and 51(5) will be provided electronically to the Courts, the appointed benchers and members of the Society following the expiry of the 30-day statutory appeal period.

4.1       Disciplinary Records

4.1.1    For purposes of this policy, Disciplinary Record includes all decisions wherein a finding of guilt was entered following a hearing before an Adjudication Tribunal absent a non-publication order.

4.1.2    Disciplinary Records will be published on the Society’s website and will include:

  1. the respondent’s name;
  2. the electronic notice referenced in paragraph 3.1.6(b) above; and links to the full decision and order.