Bernard Valcourt, federal Minister of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, was one of three lawyers recently suspended by the Law Society of New Brunswick for failing to meet the minimum requirements for continuing education and professional development.
In Quebec the number is far more imposing. According to the recently published 2011-2012 annual report by Quebec’s law society 73 lawyers were suspended for failing to complete at least 30 hours of approved training during a two-year compliance period. Seventy-two other lawyers were stricken off the roll for either failing to pay annual membership fees, failing to enroll or pay into the professional liability fund.The disbarred members will now have to pay a fee and submit a formal request to be reinstated, which will be examined by the bar’s readmissions committee.
The Barreau du Québec’s syndic, or investigating officer, was kept busy. His department lodged a complaint with the disciplinary council against 57 lawyers and dismissed 1,443 others it investigated.
The Barreau’s disciplinary committee rejected 17 complaints, found 27 respondents guilty and imposed sanctions in 31 cases.
From April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012, the disciplinary committee meted out
- a suspension of three months or less in 30 cases;
- a suspension of less than a year in 54 cases,
- a suspension lasting between one and five years in 25 cases
- a suspension from five to ten years in three cases.
The disciplinary committee also imposed a fine of less than $1,000 in 10 cases and handed a fine of more than $1,000 in 19 cases.