New Federation President elected for 2011-2012 term

(Posted on November 15, 2011)

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada (“Federation”) is pleased to announce that John J.L. Hunter, Q.C. of Vancouver has been elected President for 2011-2012. Mr. Hunter holds degrees from Yale University and the London School of Economics, and earned his law degree from the University of Toronto. He was admitted to the Law Society of British Columbia in 1977, and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1994.

Mr. Hunter is a senior litigation counsel at Hunter Litigation Chambers in Vancouver, B.C.  He is a Fellow and former Provincial Chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and is also a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers.

 Mr. Hunter is also a Life Bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia, and served as President of the Society in 2008. From 2007-2009 he chaired the Federation’s Task Force on the Canadian Common Law Degree, and joined the Federation Council in 2010 as the representative of the Law Society of British Columbia.

The new Federation President says he will focus on three priorities during his term. “We have begun important work to harmonize our regulatory processes, particularly in the area of admissions and discipline”, he notes. “With national mobility a reality for almost ten years, now we have to follow through with national standards.” Recently the Federation adopted a new national requirement for Canadian common law degrees, and work is now underway with Canada’s law schools to implement a monitoring system as part of the law societies’ public interest mandate to ensure entry-level competence for new members of the legal profession.

Mr. Hunter also plans to focus on public access to legal services. “Too many Canadians simply lack the resources to access the justice system”, he says. “The Federation is working with Canada’s law societies to find ways, within their regulatory mandates, to alleviate these challenges in cooperation with other partners in the justice system.”

Another objective for the new Federation President is to position the Federation and Canada’s law societies as leading standard-setting organizations for professional ethics in close collaboration with Canada’s law schools.  Mr. Hunter explained, “The Federation has adopted a Model Code of Professional Conduct for all of Canada’s law societies to use as a basic reference document for regulating professional ethics. At the same time, we require law schools to teach legal ethics as part of their core curriculum. We need to work with and support law schools and ethics teachers in carrying out their important responsibilities”.

Mr. Hunter added, “Serving the public interest means that regulators need to do everything possible to foster the public’s confidence that members of the legal profession will act with honour and integrity at all times and these values need to be hard-wired before being called to the Bar.”

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is the national coordinating body of the 14 law societies mandated by provincial and territorial law to regulate Canada’s 100,000 lawyers and Quebec’s 4,000 notaries in the public interest. It is a leading voice on issues of national and international importance relating to the administration of justice and the rule of the law.