Apr 242015

logoAre you looking forward to getting out on the course this summer? Why not get in a game of golf while supporting a worthy cause?

The Mediation & Restorative Justice Centre (MRJC) has been serving the greater Edmonton community for 15 years by helping empower and support people in confronting misunderstandings and conflicts within their own lives, their community, or their organization.

This August MRJC is hosting their Inaugural Golf Tournament at the Mill Woods Golf Course, and there are lots of ways you can get involved:
•    Sponsoring a hole (includes a golfer)
•    Golfing (includes breakfast, lunch, and prizes)
•    Donating a prize
•    Volunteering during the tournament (includes breakfast and lunch)
•    Sharing a poster and helping promote the event.

Contact Franc Grove (780.423.0896) to if you have questions or if you want to get involved.

If doing something that gives back to the community and you’d like LESA’s help promoting your event or initiative, please contact Renee Vander Meulen, Communications Coordinator (780.969.0553 or renee.vandermeulen@lesa.org).

Apr 222015

If you’re looking for some Edmonton-based entertainment and want to support a good cause at the same time, mark Friday, May 8 on your calendar, because Players de Novo is putting on their 10th annual production:

The Beaux’ Stratagem

By George Farquhar
Adapted by Thornton Wider and Ken Ludwig
Directed by Jan Taylor

Each year local lawyers and judges put on a performance to raise money for Edmonton’s theatre community, and in 2015 proceeds will benefit the Kompany Family Theatre and the Victoria School Foundation.

This year’s comedy should be full of fun:

Will the right couples couple? Will the brigands get their just deserts? Sword play, wordplay – even foreplay – it’s all in the play! Don’t try to follow the plot too closely, or you’ll start to get a headache. Just come along for the sheer bliss of the ride.

You can find all the details – including the venue, time, a complete list of cast members, and a ticket order form – here. If you’re interested in attending, be sure to purchase tickets soon, since the play sells out early year after year.

And we’re sure you’ll join us in wishing great success to everyone involved. Break a leg!


If you’re part of an event or initiative that gives back to the community and you’d like LESA’s help promoting it, please contact Renee Vander Meulen, Communications Coordinator (780.969.0553 or renee.vandermeulen@lesa.org).

Apr 202015

Several recent amendments to Alberta legislation are geared towards efficiency, freeing up court time, and, ultimately, access to justice.

Alberta Gains a Second Associate Chief Justice

Effective March 30, 2015 the Court of Queen’s Bench Act has been amended by the Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 (Bill 16) to allow for a second Associate Chief Justice in Alberta. According to the Hansard record of comments made by the Hon. Ian Donovan, the change is meant to address two concerns:

  • Over the past two decades, the Court of Queen’s Bench has not increased in size to match Alberta’s rapidly growing population, and, of course, the increased court case volumes.
  • Both Calgary and Edmonton need a dedicated ACJ to oversee the operational needs in each city. This will give the Chief Justice the capacity to provide more strategic direction to the court as a whole.

Now that a new position has been legislatively created, according to Hansard, the Alberta government and the Court of Queen’s Bench will seek an appointment of the second ACJ by the federal government.

Expanding the Role of the Master in Chambers

The Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 also gives the Chief Justice the authority to issue directives on the jurisdiction of the province’s Masters in Chambers by amending s 9 of the Court of Queen’s Bench Act (which deals with the Masters’ jurisdiction). The idea is to allow for a mechanism to control and augment the types of applications litigants can bring before a Master, to free up court time before the Justices of the Court.

Here come electronic signatures in the Land Titles Office

The Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 also introduced changes to how things will be done at the Land Titles Office, with a view to increased efficiency. Eventually, registered subscribers (frequent users such as lawyers and land surveyors) will be able to electronically submit certain documents to the land titles registry, using a unique digital signature.

Karen McDougall – LESA Counsel

Apr 172015

Mark your calendars. The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta has put out a notice of meeting welcoming members of the Bar to discuss Surrogate practices and procedures with the Surrogate Rules Advisory Committee and the Surrogate Practice Advisors (Hon. Justice C. M. Jones and Hon. Justice P. B. Michalyshyn).

If you have questions or comments about Surrogate practice matters that you would like addressed at the meeting, send an email to SRAC@albertacourts.ca.

Calgary (QB Courtroom 1801)
Date: Monday, May 11, 2015
Time: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Edmonton (QB Courtroom 317)
Date: Friday, May 8, 2015
Time: 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM

All members of the Bar who practice in these areas are encouraged to attend.

Apr 132015

Thank You Volunteers

Today is the start of National Volunteer Week, and we are so grateful for our incredible LESA volunteers!
To everyone who has helped make CPLED, our seminars, and our educational resources a great success – this shout out is to you!

You are a valued LESA contributor and all your hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. We make a point of saying thanks all throughout the year, but this week we’re taking the opportunity to express our gratitude in a very tangible way.

If you volunteered for us this past year, you should have received a ticket inviting you to attend this week’s seminar – Making Business Development a Natural Part of Your Everyday Life – absolutely free.

We’re looking forward to seeing you tomorrow (in Edmonton) or Wednesday (in Calgary), and we hope you’ll enjoy hearing from Steve Hughes, as he discusses how you can grow your business in an intentional way. He has so many good tips to offer, and we’re pleased to give you this practical gift in return for everything you’ve done for us this year.

This program is also open to paying registrants, and there are still a few seats left. If you want to join us, we’d love to have you. You can register online now for Edmonton or Calgary.

Apr 102015


Did you know that Law Day was introduced by the CBA in 1983 to commemorate the signing of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

This year’s celebrations take place next week on Saturday, April 18.

Together with its various partners, the CBA Alberta branch has organized activities in 10 Alberta communities. Activities vary by city and include exhibits, mock trials, high school mock trial tournaments, courthouse tours, citizenship ceremonies, and more.

As part of Law Day, the Dial-a-Lawyer event is also running on Saturday, April 18. Dial-a-Lawyer is targeted to members of the public who need legal advice and who are unable to get to a courthouse with activities. Volunteer lawyers are taking calls from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm, providing free 15-20 minute consultations, and directing callers to additional resources where necessary.

If you are interested in serving as a Dial-a-Lawyer volunteer, contact Pro Bono Law Alberta’s Deputy Executive Director Kendall Moholitny at kmoholitny@pbla.ca. Make sure you reach out soon, as the list of volunteer lawyers is in the process of being finalized.

Apr 082015

ABLeg_iStock_000006937454LargeUpcoming legislation will affect how Albertans sign a guarantee.

Effective April 30, 2015, only active members of the Law Society of Alberta are eligible to

  • attend on someone signing a personal guarantee,
  • provide advice, and
  • sign the certificate required under the Guarantees Acknowledgment Act.

This is an important change and means that students-at-law and others with notary public status, all of whom have been providing this service for many years, will be shut out.

These changes were made through the Notaries and Commissioners Act SA 2013 c N-5.5, to be proclaimed April 30, and through the Justice Statutes Amendment Act SA 2014 c 13, proclaimed in 2014.

This same legislation also changes things for commissioners of oaths in Alberta.

1) Required Information
Before April 30: Commissioners must insert their name on the document commissioned and, if appointed by the Minister (rather than acting by virtue of office), add the commission end date.
After April 30: Commissioners must insert their name, the title “A Commissioner for Oaths in and for Alberta,” and their end date (or, where acting by virtue of office, their status – Barrister and Solicitor, for example).

2) Penalties
Before April 30: The penalty for non-compliance with the Act or for misrepresenting oneself as a commissioner is $500.
After April 30: The penalty is $5000.

3) Commissioner Requirements
After April 30: Commissioners must be over 18 years of age and Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

4) Duties and Code of Conduct
After April 30: The Minister may establish directives governing the duties of Commissioners as well as a code of conduct.

Karen McDougall, LESA Counsel

Apr 012015

Janette Sztym - Education CoordinatorIf you’ve attended a LESA seminar, worked as a LESA volunteer, or been a CPLED student over the past year and half, you’ve likely had the pleasure of meeting Janette Sztym, one of LESA’s Education Coordinators.

Janette’s meticulous nature, organizational skills, and calm presence make her the perfect person to keep our live events running smoothly.

And Janette’s job involves a lot of moving parts.

First there’s all the background work and logistics: planning and monitoring the progress of educational deliverables, coordinating the recruitment of subject matter experts, booking audio visual providers, and serving as the primary contact with our event facilities.

Afterwards, Janette handles expense claims and makes sure our volunteers are reimbursed for their expenses (we know you all appreciate this!).

In between, there’s everything to take care of on-site. We asked Janette what she does when she’s getting ready for a seminar. Here’s her checklist:

  • I set up equipment,
  • I check on the banquet’s event order to make sure all the food is right,
  • I work with my AV crew,
  • I greet our volunteer speakers and make them comfortable before starting,
  • I help out at the registration table for our guests, and
  • I address any issues that come up where something doesn’t go as planned.

Janette also takes care of many things on-site for CPLED Face-to-Face sessions:

  • I help Kathy Fortier set up the equipment,
  • I greet our volunteer facilitators,
  • I direct CPLED students, and
  • I enter marks as they come in from the evaluators on competency evaluation days.

And Janette’s goal each time she’s on site? “I want it to look like nothing happens. … No issues is what I aim for.

Now that you know how much Janette does for you in the background of all our events (including making sure you’re fed at lunch and coffee!) make sure you give her a big smile when you see her at our next event. After all, she does it all for you. When we asked her what she liked best about working at LESA, it was the “opportunity to meet and work with the legal profession across the province” that was at the forefront for her.

Mar 302015

Alberta LegislatureHere at LESA we’re proud to be your lifelong partner in continuing legal excellence. As your partner, we want to help you keep on top of all the latest legislative changes.

That desire leads us to today’s inaugural “Latest from the Leg” blog. We’ll be posting similar blogs periodically to update you on provincial or national legislative changes that will impact the practice of law in Alberta.

We hope you find these updates useful!

New Estate Administration Act

The Estate Administration Act (EAA) and the new Surrogate Rules will come into force on June 1, 2015 (by Order in Council 84/2015 and Order in Council 85/2015, both approved on March 19).

The EAA repeals the Administration of Estates Act RSA 2000 cA-2 and the Devolution of Real Property Act RSA 2000 cD-12. It has been developed to make the roles and obligations of personal representatives (executors) easier to find and understand. Among other things, the new legislation and the corresponding changes to the Surrogate forms add more information-sharing rules: those administering estates not requiring a grant must serve notice to beneficiaries or others including their contact information, the date of the will, and the date of death.

Additional Court Fees

You can expect to see additional court fees in place soon.

  • Higher prices for court filing fees are effective May 1, 2015 (under OC 112/2015), and in the Provincial Court fees will be added for filing a dispute note, third party claims, and applications within an action.
  • Court fees under the Surrogate Rules (AR 130/1995) are also going up for grants of probate, letters of administration, or resealing under Schedule 2 – from an extra $10 for an estate valued at $10K or less to an extra $125 for an estate valued at over $250K.
  • Under the Rules of Court (AR 124/2010) Schedule B, it will cost $250 (up from $200) to file a statement of claim/originating application and $50 (up from no charge) to file an action under the Family Law Act. Instead of being included in the price of the action, there will be a separate fee for filing a statement of defense ($50), a counterclaim ($150), a third party claim ($150), and an application ($50).

If you practice in the area of wills & estates, LESA has seminars to help both lawyers and legal support staff learn more about the new Act. Learn more or register online now to secure your seat – some seminar sessions are already full!

Karen McDougall, LESA Counsel

Mar 272015


Regular programming for the 2014/2015 CPLED year wrapped up this week when the Negotiations face-to-face module concluded on Wednesday. Now we’re starting to look ahead to the new year.


Welcome to CPLED

If you are a current 3rd year law student or recent graduate who needs to take the Alberta bar admission program, welcome to CPLED and to LESA. We know you’ll have lots of questions about CPLED, and we want to give you all the information that you need.

You’ll find details about when the CPLED face-to-face sessions and online modules run in the 2015/2016 Key Dates.

If you haven’t yet registered for CPLED, you’ll want to register online now. Registration has been open since February 23, and face-to-face session enrolment is limited, with time preferences granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you missed our info sessions at the U of A and U of C or if you have more questions, the CPLED 2015/2016 Presentation, should get you well on your way to answering your questions.

As always, our CPLED Student Coordinator, Ashley Iachetta, is available to answer any other questions you may have. You can reach her at ashley.iachetta@lesa.org or at 780.969.3557.


Volunteering for CPLED

If you’re looking for a way to give back to the profession, there’s no better way than to contribute your time, skills, and knowledge to help train the next generation of lawyers, who also happen to be our CPLED students.

LESA is currently recruiting volunteers to help with our face-to-face modules. We need both faculty members for the teaching days and evaluators for the competency evaluation days.

If you’d like more information or want to put your name forward as a volunteer, please contact Janette Sztym at janette.sztym@lesa.org or at 780.969.3553.


2014/2015 Reserve Period

If you are a current CPLED student who needs to complete modules in the Reserve Period (March 26 to June 18), you can access your Reserve Period Schedule through the “14/15 Reserve Period” course in Desire2Learn.

If you have any questions about your schedule, please contact Ashley Iachetta (CPLED Student Coordinator) at ashley.iachetta@lesa.org or at 780.969.3557.