If you are a licensee of the LSUC, you will be required to draft your Statement of Principles by December 31, 2017, and to report on whether you have done so in your 2017 Annual Report.
Although the Law Society has dodged the question of whether there will be future consequences for persons who do not comply with the Statement of Principles requirement, they have said repeatedly licensees who do not comply in 2017 “will be advised of their obligations in writing.” In other words, at least for 2017 you can otherwise complete your Annual Report without drafting a Statement of Principles, though you can expect a written notice reminding you of the requirement.
If you have reservations about the requirement, you have three main choices:
- Review the Law Society’s website, FAQ, and guidelines and see if they help you resolve your concerns;
- Ignore your reservations, draft a Statement of Principles, file it away, and hope your conscience doesn’t trouble you; or
- Do not comply and, when asked on your Annual Report why not, write something as long or as short as you like.
It is up to you to decide whether you want to comply with the new requirement, but if you do not, the LSUC has said you will have an option in your Annual Report to explain why you have not done so. We suggest: “I have grave concerns about the legality and constitutionality of this requirement. As there is currently a legal challenge pending, I will await the resolution of that action before deciding whether or not to comply.”
If you are a member of the general public and not a licensee of the LSUC, your voice is still important as the LSUC’s mandate is to serve the public. You can write to the LSUC to express your views, positive or negative, about the Statement of Principles requirement:
Law Society of Upper Canada
Mailing address and directions:
Finally, you can also donate to the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which is supporting Prof. Ryan Alford’s challenge to the new requirement. As a registered charity whose mission is to defend our constitutional rights and freedoms, we rely on donations from people just like you to fight for your rights.