March 18, 2021
Employer's Guide to the Law Society of Alberta's Respectful Workplace Policy
The Law Society has launched this new Employer’s Guide, to accompany the Law Society of Alberta’s Respectful Workplace Model Policy, as a tool to help workplaces manage conflict, and address and prevent harassment and discrimination. The guide highlights some steps which an organization can take to effectively implement and enforce its respectful workplace policy. It is not an exhaustive guide, and firms and organizations are encouraged to locate additional resources, training and supports. The Law Society offers the Model Policy and guide as resources to assist lawyers in Alberta in meeting their obligation to maintain a respectful workplace, as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
New Resources Available

In SLF Associates Inc v. HSBC (UK) Bank Plc et al [2021] EWHC 5, a decision rendered by the England and Wales High Court, the Court admonished an individual for circulating an unauthorized screen shot taken in the course of virtual court proceedings.

The caution was based on a provision of the UK Courts Act that makes it an offence to record or transmit court proceedings without the court’s permission. How would this be handled in Alberta? Read this resource to learn more.

Even before COVID-19, lawyers were increasingly looking at the possibilities and benefits of working remotely. If you have taken your practice online, do you know where you stand if a case takes you across provincial boundaries? What if you are from another jurisdiction and your online practice takes you into Alberta? This resource provides guidance for both lawyers from other provinces working in Alberta and lawyers from Alberta who are working in other provinces.

In March 2020, Rule 2.23 of the Alberta Rules of Court was amended to confirm the discretion of the Court of Queen's Bench to allow non-lawyer agents to assist individuals and corporations in court. The Court of Queen's Bench may, subject to the Legal Profession Act, permit a non-lawyer agent to have a right of audience on behalf of an individual or corporation who is engaged in a court process. The Rule does not, however, permit the agent to render legal services. Learn more in this resource.
Bencher Profile Series
Bill Hendsbee, QC
Moira Vane
Nearing 27 years of active practise in Alberta, Bill Hendsbee, QC begins his second term at the Bencher table.

“When I started as a Bencher three years ago, I thought that I would like it, but I ended up loving it more than I expected. When it came time for the opportunity to run for a second term, I had a real sense that I was just starting to catch my stride, make a difference and assume some leadership responsibilities, so I’m excited to have the chance to come back and continue this important work,” he says.

Bill grew up in Ontario and completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of Western Ontario before moving to Alberta about 31 years ago. Once here, he obtained his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta and was called to the Alberta bar in 1994. He is a partner at Cummings Andrews Mackay LLP, a boutique firm in Edmonton where he has practised for over two decades.

When Moira Váně began practising law in 2003, she was aware of, and disheartened to see, women leaving the legal profession at a high rate. Fast forward 18 years later, Moira remains committed to finding ways for the profession to change so that more women stay in law and achieve success to better reflect and serve the public.

“While over the course of my career I have seen many glass ceilings smashed, I still think that the profession is not doing enough, and the Law Society is where a lot of systemic change can be effected.”

Moira points to a 1993 CBA Report called Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability of igniting her passion for gender equity.

While the report was written over 25 years ago, she believes that many of the issues are just as relevant today.

Provincial Court of Alberta Survey to the Profession Results
In January, the Provincial Court of Alberta sent out a survey to the profession get some insight into how lawyers has been impacted by changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, including: having to provide equitable access to justice while protecting public health and safety, and adopting new technologies, processes and procedures.

Court of Queen's Bench Announcement

A Criminal Appearance Court (CAC) Adjournment Form is now available for Counsel and Court use. Counsel may seek to use this form where a CAC adjournment is being sought in Edmonton or Calgary; a Designation of Counsel has been filed; and Counsel agree to waive delay arising from the adjournment to the next CAC date. Other requirements are contained on the Form, which aims to bring greater efficiency to CAC. Unless the presiding judge deems otherwise, if all requirements of the Form have been met, and the Form is appropriately submitted for processing 3 clear business days in advance of the scheduled CAC appearance, the CAC adjournment will be processed without the requirement for Counsel to make an appearance in CAC

In order to facilitate the more timely processing of draft Orders submitted to the Court via email, counsel and parties are asked to send draft Orders as follows:

  1. In Justice Chambers and Family Chambers, in .doc or docx (ie. Microsoft Word) format.
  2. In Masters' Chambers, in .pdf format.
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