The Council of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada has adopted new national standards established to raise the bar on how law societies carry out discipline functions, and how complaints are handled. The National Discipline Standards were adopted at the Council’s meeting April 3, 2014 in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The National Discipline Standards address fairness, transparency, public participation and timeliness in how discipline work is carried out. A copy of the standards is available here. The standards have been referred to the law societies for adoption and implementation effective January 1, 2015.
The Federation Council also established a new Standing Committee on National Discipline Standards with the mandate to monitor law society implementation of and compliance with the standards.
The approval of the National Discipline Standards follows completion of a two year pilot project involving thirteen law societies to test the standards In the course of the pilot project virtually all law societies have experienced improvements in performance.
Federation President Marie-Claude Bélanger-Richard, Q.C., said “I am pleased to report that the Federation Council has adopted national discipline standards designed to inspire public confidence in this important aspect of law society work across Canada.”
The new National Discipline Standards are intended to be aspirational, as it is recognized that not every law society will be able to meet every standard by reason of local regulations or otherwise.