On May 29, 2013, on the SLAW website, Adam Dodek recently posted his thoughts on the implications of an non-lawyer assuming the role of AG. For the original version with some very interesting comments, click HERE.
Must the highest legal officer in the land be a lawyer? Surprisingly, the answer is no.
Recently, the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from a decision of the BC Supreme Court that held that the appointment of a non-lawyer Attorney General (the Honourable Shirley Bond) did not breach that province’s Legal Profession Act. In Askin v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2012 BCSC 895, Madam Justice Stromberg-Stein held that “the Legal Profession Act cannot be read in a manner which limits the Lieutenant Governor’s absolute and unfettered right to appoint members to the Executive Council and assign portfolios, including that of the Attorney General.”
One must admit that the petitioner had a point. It seems strange that the occupant of the highest legal office of the province could be a non-lawyer. It seems strange further still that this person is charged by statute with many important legal responsibilities, including acting as the official legal adviser to the Lieutenant Governor and to the Cabinet. Continue reading