February 2016 Section Update

  • February 01, 2016

Keep Current: A review of provincial Section meetings

Commercial & Real Estate Okanagan

Meeting in Review: November 19, 2015
Speaker: Barry M. Porrelli, Porrelli Law
Topic: Native Land Development: Westbank First Nation

Barry Porrelli presented on First Nation land development with particular emphasis on the Westbank First Nation (WFN), a first nation which leads Canada in urban reserve residential and commercial land development. He is past chairman of the WFN Economic Development Commission and his office is on reserve. Barry has been involved in dozens of native developments and is a frequent presenter on the topic.

He presented information on the WFN and their explosive growth; about the different legal governance regimes on reserve (Indian Act, Land Code, Self Government/Treaty); the distinction between CP Land and Band Land; how leases are created and how much easier the process is with Land Code or Self-Governed Bands; security of leases on Westbank First Nation land with title priority protection built into their Constitution; the wide availability of title insurance on reserve; the importance of long term prepaid leases; First Nation property taxation; and the availability of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation coverage.

Real Property Vancouver

Meeting in Review: November 24, 2015
Speakers: Iain Dixon, City of Vancouver
Topic: Vancouver City`s New By-Law Regulating Marijuana Dispensaries

On November 24, 2015 the CBABC Real Property – Vancouver Section convened a meeting to hear from City of Vancouver lawyer Iain Dixon regarding an overview of issues related to Vancouver’s new by-laws regulating medical marijuana related retail uses (MMRUs). Mr. Dixon began by presenting on recent changes to Canada’s federal medical marijuana regime and how these changes (together with jurisdictional trends in Colorado and nearby Washington) informed the decision to develop Canada’s first municipal bylaws regulating and licensing MMRUs. Mr. Dixon explained the land use measures that were taken in Vancouver’s Zoning Bylaw to prevent land use conflicts and reduce the social and economic impact of MMRUs, outlined changes to Vancouver’s business license regulations (aimed at protecting youths, optimizing security, mitigating nuisance and preventing crime), and concluded his presentation by detailing the municipal application process applicable to MMRUs in Vancouver.

Appellate Advocacy

Meeting in Review: December 2, 2015
Speaker: Mary Ainslie, QC, Crown Counsel, Criminal Justice Branch, and Karen Horsman, QC, Legal Services Branch
Topic: Appellate Advocacy: Views from Counsel from the Ministry of Justice

Mary Ainslie, QC, Crown Counsel, Criminal Justice Branch, and Karen Horsman, QC, Legal Services Branch, gave a joint presentation to the Appellate Advocacy Section on their experience as appellate advocates for the Ministry of Justice. Ms. Ainslie spoke as Crown on the criminal side and Ms. Horsman spoke as Crown on the civil side. Both have argued many complex appeals on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and their presentation focused on a range of topics relevant to both criminal and civil counsel that litigate against the government, including: Crown liability and proceedings legislation; the Crown’s decision-making process on whether to bring an appeal; and the interaction between Crown counsel and the Attorney General.

General Practice, Solo & Small Firm – Prince Rupert, Criminal
Justice – Prince Rupert and Young Lawyers – BC North

Meeting in Review: December 10, 2015
Speaker: Ian Lawson, Nina Purewal and Megan Olson
Topic: Ethics and Conflicts in Small Town Practice

Conflict issues arise frequently in small town practice and can cause access to justice issues due to the limited availability of court time and alternate counsel. Joe McCarthy and Ian Lawson led a round table discussion on ethics and conflicts in small town practice. The group discussed the difference between a conflict as defined by the Code of Professional Conduct from a “perceived conflict” in the eyes of a witness or lay litigant; how to deal with limited conflicts such as cross examining a witness who is former client. The group also discussed potential conflicts that can arise when a lawyer takes on a file with both criminal and family law issues.

There was a lively debate about the optics of remaining as counsel on a file when there is a “perceived” conflict. Different perspectives were presented as to how to proceed in a potential conflict situation.