June 16, 2022
National Indigenous History Month
In June, Canada commemorates National Indigenous History Month and also celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day on the summer solstice, June 21.

Throughout this month there are many opportunities to participate in events (visit the Government of Canada’s interactive map or Government of Alberta’s event listing) and engage in learning about rich and diverse Indigenous cultures, important contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, as well as history and experiences.

Taking the time to learn more about Indigenous Peoples is an important step every Canadian can take in their own reconciliation journeys.

Embark on The Path (Law Society of Alberta)

Alberta lawyers who have not yet completed the Indigenous Cultural Competency Education called The Path (Law Society of Alberta) – Your Journey Through Indigenous Canada are also encouraged to set aside some time during the month of June to meet this requirement.

The Law Society launched the The Path (Law Society of Alberta) for all Alberta lawyers on April 21, 2021. Alberta lawyers who were active when the requirement was introduced have until Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022 to complete the course or certify eligibility for an exemption. For those lawyers who became active or changed to active status following the launch date, the deadline to complete the course depends on the date the lawyer became active. Lawyers can find their due date for completing the mandatory education requirement in their Lawyer Portal. As per the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta (see Rules 67.4), lawyers who do not compete the Indigenous education by the deadline will be administratively suspended.

For more information on The Path (Law Society of Alberta) and further resources related to reconciliation, visit our website.
OPCA Litigants: Reminder to the Profession
The Law Society continues to hear concerns regarding “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument” litigants (OPCA litigants). Consequently, we want to remind lawyers of their obligations when dealing with OPCA litigants since lawyers and students are often consulted to notarize and commission documents.

In the leading case regarding such individuals, Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII), Associate Chief Justice Rooke provides an excellent summary of the characteristics of OPCA litigants. Other identifying names for them are “Freemen on the Land”, “Sovereign Citizens” or “de-taxers”. The decision is worth reading to assist lawyers in identifying these individuals. A review of recent case law on CanLII demonstrates that the courts continue to deal regularly with OPCA litigants.

As seen in Meads, OPCA litigants often present documents that have no legal effect, or which are otherwise legal fictions, for notarization. The Law Society has cautioned lawyers previously not to engage in notarizing such documents. All lawyers are officers of the court and are obliged not to participate in the preparation of a document that resembles a court document, or any other document intended to deceive the recipient.

As a result, we encourage lawyers and students to review the Notaries and Commissioners Act and associated regulations.
Mentor Connect & Mentor Express – Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for both Mentor Connect and the 2022–2023 Mentor Express programs. As a mentee, a mentoring relationship can encourage and empower your professional development, help you identify and achieve career goals, and increase your confidence. As a mentor, you get to learn from your mentees and share perspectives and experiences with others at a different stage of their careers.

Mentor Connect is a traditional mentorship program that matches mentors and mentees based on areas of law, geographical proximity, personal experience and similar interests. Pairs are matched for six months and meet regularly either in person or remotely depending on preference. Register as a mentee or a mentor on our website.

Mentor Express is like online shopping for mentors, where mentees browse an online gallery to choose the mentors they are interested in meeting. This self-match system lets mentees seek guidance and insight relevant to their own career development with a variety of mentors based on personal experience and attributes, practice areas, interests and geography. Over the course of the program, mentees build their professional network by meeting with multiple mentors for one hour each.

The 2022–2023 Mentor Express program begins in October but registration is open now. Register as a mentee or a mentor on our website.

Please note that due to the overwhelming interest in our program, we had significantly more mentors than mentees in the program last year, leaving some mentors without matches. We appreciate and value the contributions of all our participants and want to ensure that both mentors and mentees have a positive experience. This year, we are limiting the number of mentors to better use our mentors’ time and expertise. Those who apply to be mentors will be added to a waitlist and be advised if they will have a spot in the 2022–2023 program. All applicants will be notified by Aug. 8, 2022.

For more information and to register for the programs, visit our website or contact Customer Service.
Expediting Registration of Court Orders Discharging Builders’ Liens
Due to the high volumes of incoming registration documents and current turnaround times, the Land Titles Office (LTO) will be expediting registration of Court Orders discharging builders’ liens, effective June 15, 2022.

The new procedure for Court Orders that discharge builders’ liens is as follows:

Previously received submissions currently in the pending registration queue: 

  • A solicitor may request expedited registration for orders that have been previously submitted.  
  • The solicitor may request the expedited registration via email to the respective office the documents were received (lto@gov.ab.ca for North submissions or ltos@gov.ab.ca for South submissions).  
  • The subject line of the email must read: ATTN SUPERVISOR: DISO of BUIL DRR <INSERT DRR NUMBER>.
  • The request will be reviewed for eligibility and assigned for expedited registration, if eligible.
  • LTO cannot guarantee a timeline for registration, however, eligible requests will be moved to the front for timely processing. 

New submissions:

  • Any submissions seeking expedited registration received after June 15, 2022 are to include the statement “ATTN SUPERVISOR: DISO of BUIL” under special instructions on the Document Registration Request (DRR). 
  • These DRRs will be reviewed for eligibility to be advanced.
  • Once approved for expedited registration, the package will be placed at the front of the queue. 

In the event that LTO finds the package to be ineligible, LTO will send an email to the solicitor and advise them accordingly. The submission package is then placed back in the priority it was received for processing.

Questions can be emailed to lto@gov.ab.ca for North submissions or ltos@gov.ab.ca for South submissions. Additional information can be found on the LTO website.
Federal Court: Consolidated General Practice Guidelines
Consolidated General Practice Guidelines were issued by Chief Justice Crampton and can be found on the website of the Federal Court.

These guidelines consolidate and replace the following Practice Directions:

  • Designation of the Surname / Family Name of a Party;
  • Electronic legal service and electronic filing & Annex;
  • Informal Requests for Interlocutory Relief;
  • Early Hearing Dates for Applications in the Federal Court;
  • Books of Authorities; 
  • Name of the presiding judge or prothonotary; 
  • Addressing the Judicial Officers in Court;
  • Gowning for counsel; and 
  • Costs in the Federal Court.

Furthermore, the guidelines clarify the interpretation of Section 11 of the Federal Courts Act regarding appearance by an articling student.

View the full guidelines for more information.
Court of Queen's Bench Announcements

The Bonaventure Centre will not be available for Edmonton criminal jury trials for the weeks of June 20 and 27, 2022. The Bonaventure Centre will remain the location for any jury selections scheduled to occur during these weeks.

For the weeks beginning June 20 and June 27, 2022, Edmonton criminal jury trials that cannot be accommodated within the Edmonton Law Courts will be held at the Edmonton Convention Centre, 9797 Jasper Avenue.

Surrogate Reform Announcements - Amendments to Surrogate Rules and Forms

Effective June 15, 2022, applications for most grants typically issued in connection with surrogate matters will require completion of new Grant Application (GA) forms. Order in Council 356/2021 amends the Surrogate Rules effective June 15, 2022 by, among other things, repealing the Non-contentious (NC) Forms and replacing them with the GA forms. Read more.

These two forms were not amended by Order in Council 356/2021 and will continue to refer to NC forms after June 14, 2022. This guidance available on the Court website is being provided for the use of Forms ACC 12 and C 6 as NC forms will no longer be accepted for grant applications submitted after June 14, 2022.

This announcement clarifies that Rule 46(a) of the Surrogate Rules does not apply to grants issued through the Surrogate Digital Service. Read more.

This announcement clarifies how Rule 16(1) of the Surrogate Rules applies to applications made through the Surrogate Digital Service. Read more.
Upcoming Events
Well-Being in Practice | Oct. 4 – 5, 2022

Visit our website for a full list of upcoming events.