TORONTO, Nov. 2, 2017 /CNW/ - The Law Society's governing body today approved an increase of $267 to the annual fee that lawyers will pay to the Law Society in 2018. Paralegals will pay an additional $54. These fee increases will support ongoing programs and strategic initiatives, resulting in an overall, annual fee of $2,183 for lawyers and $1,100 for paralegals.
A significant portion of the lawyer fee increase is in response to unusually high claims against the Law Society's Lawyer Compensation Fund over the last two years. The 2018 fee will support the higher claims activity and restore the Fund's financial stability.
"The 2018 budget will provide appropriate resources and enable us to continue to address key strategic priorities, ensure ongoing support of our important regulatory programs in the public interest, and ensure our ability to meet current and future claims against the Lawyer Compensation Fund," says Law Society Acting Chief Executive Officer Diana Miles. "This increase to annual fees reflects our growing membership and the expansion of programs."
Beyond the increase in the fee for the Lawyer Compensation Fund, the increase to the annual fee is primarily attributable to:
- Staffing increases in the core areas of Professional Regulation (14), Professional Development & Competence (4) and Policy (2). As well, Professional Regulation processes were reviewed in late 2016 and early 2017 resulting in the reorganization of the department, with increased resources being applied in 2017 and continuing in 2018.
- Increased staffing and departmental reorganizations have resulted in the need for additional space which is being rented with lease costs increasing by $900,000 in 2018.
- $900,000, has been set aside in the 2018 budget for the Communications Plan, an increase of $600,000 over 2017.
- Additional resources devoted to the Society's Indigenous initiatives, including $250,000 for the Indigenous Review and the hiring of counsel with an Indigenous mandate.
"The 2018 budget will ensure that we can continue to offer and enhance support to the professions and increase our focus on access to justice, while meeting our core mandate of regulating the legal professions in the public interest," says Law Society Treasurer, Paul Schabas.
Licensees can enroll in the Law Society's Annual Pre-Authorized Payment Plan which will provide a $50 annual fee discount fee, pro-rated by fee category.
The 2018 budget report is available online.
The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a duty to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.
SOURCE The Law Society of Upper Canada
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