Law Society develops alternative discipline program

  • April 22, 2022

From the Law Society of BC

The Law Society’s governing board has approved rules and a process for diverting lawyers from disciplinary proceedings in appropriate cases for treatment of an underlying health issue that led to conduct resulting in a complaint. The alternative discipline program provides the executive director with discretion to determine if it would be appropriate for a lawyer to be diverted from the disciplinary process. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, and will involve consideration of the public interest by the executive director and input from complainants.

Alternative discipline is an approach that has been adopted by other regulators, including health regulators in British Columbia and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. Licensees who are approved for the program are required to fulfil certain conditions, and they may be required to withdraw from the program if they do not achieve milestones.

The Law Society’s alternative to discipline program will begin September 2022, and will undergo assessment in 2023 and a final assessment in 2025. The Law Society will regularly report summaries of referrals to the program and outcomes.