Is Publication Worse than a Discipline Hearing?

A former member facing a discipline hearing challenged the regulator’s decision to publish notice of the upcoming hearing, as well as the right to hold the hearing itself. In fact, it seemed in Dhillon v The Law Society of British Columbia, 2021 BCSC 806 (CanLII), that the resigned practitioner was more concerned about the publication than the hearing itself, since he had resigned from the profession years ago. The primary basis of the challenge was that the regulator had permitted him to resign without conditions, in effect, waiving its right to prosecute him.

The Court disagreed. While there was no clear provision stating that the regulatory body had continuing jurisdiction over former members, the Court concluded that the intent of the legislation was to maintain such jurisdiction. There was a provision in the enabling statute referring to the discipline of non-members. The Court concluded that an amendment to the legislation enabling the regulator to refuse to accept a resignation or to impose conditions on a resignation was not the only mechanism to ensure ongoing jurisdiction over former members.

However, the case illustrates the value of provisions in regulatory statutes explicitly maintaining jurisdiction over former members.

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