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Monday, July 10, 2017

LSUC DEBATES ALTERNATIVE BUSINESS STRUCTURES
The Law Society of Upper Canada has reignited the debate over alternative business structures as it considers a new measure that looks to facilitate access to justice for vulnerable people.

Facing calls for more consultation, benchers withdrew a motion set to go to Convocation that would have allowed non-profits, charities and trade unions to offer legal services directly to clients. The law society has been exploring alternative business structures since 2012. When word got out that the motion was coming before Convocation, letters came in from organizations such as the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and the Federation of Ontario Law Associations expressing concern that more consultation was needed.

“This motion came as a surprise to our organization, as we were never approached as a stakeholder to offer submissions regarding this issue or to engage in any consultations,” says OTLA president Claire Wilkinson. Among the OTLA’s preliminary concerns was that potential complications could arise from relationships between charities and law firms. Wilkinson says the OTLA is pleased the law society chose to defer a vote to allow wider consultation with lawyers. The law society is now looking to get feedback from the profession over the summer, and it will likely consider the proposal in September.

JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS
Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould has announced another round of judicial appointments to Federal Courts and for Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.

In Ontario courts, five appointments were made: Justice Andras Schreck, Markus Koehnen, Darlene Summers, Cynthia Petersen and Sally Gomery.

Schreck, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, is now an appointed judge of the Superior Court of Justice and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto. Koehnen, who practised complex commercial litigation at McMillan LLP for 29 years, will be a Superior Court of Justice judge and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto.

Summers, a sole practitioner with Thompson Summers Family Law, has been appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, the Province of Ontario as well as a member of the Ottawa Family Court.

Petersen, a partner at Goldblatt Partners LLP, has been appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice and for the Province of Ontario in Brampton. Gomery, a senior partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, has been appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice and for the province in Ottawa.

LAW TIMES POLL
Law Times reported recently that Legal Aid Ontario officials say the agency may have to suspend all immigration and refugee services if the federal government does not provide additional funding. Readers were asked if they thought additional funding should be provided. About 87 per cent said yes, providing additional funding would help address increases in demand for these services.

About 13 per cent said no, Legal Aid Ontario has been plagued with budgeting issues and other alternatives should be identified.

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