FACL BC Statement on Resolutions 1 and 2 of the Law Society of BC 2021 AGM
October 4, 2021
In December 2020, the BC Supreme Court and BC Provincial Court introduced practice directives instructing counsel and parties to introduce individuals by indicating their name, title, and pronouns. We posted an educational resource about this practice: https://faclbc.ca/news/10416646. FACL BC applauded the introduction of these practice directives that aim to make courtrooms more inclusive of transgender, non-binary, and other gender diverse people.
The Law Society of BC’s 2021 Annual General Meeting will be held on October 5, 2021. Members can vote on resolutions during the meeting or through advance online voting (open until 5:00 pm on October 4, 2021). Visit the Law Society of BC’s website for more information about voting and the resolutions.1
FACL BC encourages our members to vote against Resolution 1. Resolution 1 proposes that the Law Society commit to “rational and unfettered discourse” on issues relating to the court pronoun practice directives. As the preamble makes clear, Resolution 1 places itself in opposition to these practice directives.
In our view, Resolution 1 seeks to undermine an initiative directed at increasing inclusivity for marginalized people and it therefore conflicts with our mission to promote equity, justice, and opportunity among legal professionals and the broader community.
For more information about Resolution 1 and why FACL BC opposes it, please see the Legal Equity and Diversity Roundtable (LEADR) statement, which FACL BC endorsed,2 and the statement by the Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch (CBABC).3
We also encourage our members to vote in support of Resolution 2, which proposes a number of changes to the Member Portal and Lawyer Directory on the Law Society website, including: to allow members to list their pronouns and forms of address; to include technical support for Unicode characters, to allow members from diverse communities to also list their traditional names; to include support for audio pronunciation guides for non-English names; and to include an easy way for members to change their names on the directory to prevent deadnaming.
In our view, Resolution 2 aims to increase inclusivity of people with non-English names, and transgender, non-binary, and other gender diverse people, which is consistent with our mission.
1 Voting: https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/about-us/news-and-publications/news/2021/2021-annual-general-meeting-online-voting-and-regi/. Resolutions 1 and 2: https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/about-us/news-and-publications/news/2021/2021-annual-general-meeting-%E2%80%93%C2%A0second-notice/