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LAWYER ORDERED TO PAY WORKER $57K
The Ontario Superior Court has ordered a Gravenhurst, Ont., lawyer to pay $57,000 to a former clerical worker after a judge found he shut down his practice without proper notice to her.

Virginia Zeats, who worked for lawyer Lyle Sullivan for 33 years, took him to court alleging lack of notice and vacation pay owed to her.

Despite the lawyer’s argument that Zeats should have seen “the writing on the wall” about the firm’s impending closure, Superior Court Justice Margaret Eberhard found Zeats should get 18 months’ notice.

“The statement of defence asserts that the plaintiff should have known the office was necessarily going to close as the defendant declined in his involvement and that this should have been notice to her,” wrote Eberhard in Zeats v. Sullivan.

“I have no authority to support the assertion that a loyal employee should have seen the ‘writing on the wall’ and that the notice period should thereby be reduced.

“To the contrary, authority cited by the Plaintiff included numerous cases where the termination was in the context of a shutdown of the business, albeit for financial not personal reasons. Neither the financial performance of the business nor the employer’s subsequent bankruptcy reduce the notice period.”

POWERFUL WOMEN LAWYERS NAMED
Lawyers have made their mark on the list of Canada’s 100 most powerful women released last week.

At least 14 lawyers are on the list the Women’s Executive Network produces each year to highlight the professional achievements of women across the country.
The names on the top 100 for 2014 include:

•    Julia Shin Doi, general counsel and secretary of the board of governors, Ryerson University.
•    Anne Kirker, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.
•    Lisa Borsook, executive partner, WeirFoulds LLP.
•    Heather Treacy, office managing partner, Calgary, Davis LLP.
•    Norie Campbell, group head, compliance and anti-money laundering and general counsel, TD Bank Group.
•    Jane Gavan, chief executive officer, Dream Office REIT.
•    Anne Giardini, former president, Weyerhaeuser Co.
•    Joanne Alexander, senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, Precision Drilling Corp.
•    Kate Chisholm, senior vice president, legal and external relations, Capital Power Corp.
•    Samantha Horn, partner, Stikeman Elliott LLP.
•    Emily Jelich, vice president and associate general counsel, operations and disputes resolution, RBC.
•    Monique Mercier, executive vice president, corporate affairs, chief legal officer and corporate secretary, Telus Communications Co.
•    Cheryl Reicin, partner, head of the technology and life sciences practice groups, Torys LLP.
•    Julia Deans, chief executive officer, Futurpreneur Canada.   

CONWAY CELEBRATES LAUNCH OF LITIGATION BOUTIQUE
Former Law Society of Upper Canada treasurer Tom Conway is part of a new Ottawa litigation boutique that celebrated its launch last month.

Conway Baxter Wilson LLP celebrated its launch on Nov. 13 after partners Conway, Colin Baxter, and David Wilson formed their bilingual litigation practice earlier this year.

The firm, which restricts its practice to litigation only, will serve clients in the areas of commercial and administrative law.

Conway Baxter Wilson’s lawyers raised a glass with clients and colleagues at the launch party last month at Play Food & Wine restaurant in Ottawa’s ByWard Market.

LAWYER INDUCTED TO ORDER OF OTTAWA
The City of Ottawa has named Dentons Canada LLP lawyer Gregory Kane to the Order of Ottawa for his contributions to the city.

Kane, who has practised law since 1973, is a former adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa and former counsel to the General Legal Council in Ghana. He has also served as associate general counsel to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

“This honour is so well-deserved. Greg is a highly respected lawyer and volunteer — he works very hard to make a difference for our city and in the lives of so many,” said David Little, managing partner of Dentons’ Ottawa office.

“We congratulate Greg on this wonderful recognition and we are very proud to have him as part of our team at Dentons.”

Dentons says Kane dedicates “countless hours” volunteering with the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, the National Arts Centre Gala, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation Gala Committee

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 58 per cent of respondents say Ontario Court Justice Gethin Edward got it wrong when he allowed an aboriginal family to take their daughter with cancer off chemotherapy.

The decision, based on the constitutional right of aboriginal people to pursue traditional medicine, created an instant controversy. Some lawyers told Law Times they found the decision “shocking” while others said it “rolls back time to a pre-scientific era.”

“What is glaringly absent from the decision is any meaningful consideration of the child’s best interest,” said Toronto health lawyer Alan Belaiche.

“And in lieu, the judge appears to have decided that a constitutional principle will trump all other considerations, including, most importantly, the best interest of the child.”
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TWO TRUST AND ESTATE LAWYERS HONOURED
Two Toronto lawyers were among the honourees of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners founder’s awards for outstanding achievement this month.

Paul LeBreux, president of Globacor Tax Advisors, and Margaret O’Sullivan of O’Sullivan Estate Lawyers PC were among six winners recognized for their contributions at the organization’s global congress in Miami. The organization recognized LeBreux for his service since its inception in 1998, including his role as chairman from 2004-07. It honoured O’Sullivan for her service as a leader and mentor to other members.

“Paul and Margaret represent two outstanding members not only of STEP, but of the industry in Canada today,” said society chief executive David Harvey.

“Paul is regarded as one of Canada’s pre-eminent international tax practitioners and his experience and acumen has made him a highly sought after adviser by high-net worth clients domestically and overseas.”

Of O’Sullivan, he said: “Margaret has written extensively in the area of trust and estate planning and often devotes volunteer hours to special projects including the STEP Canada diploma program.”

ONTARIO LOOKS AT ELECTRONIC SIGNING
The Ontario government is looking to modernize real estate transactions by setting out the rules for electronic signatures on documents such as agreements of purchase and sale.

On Nov. 14, the province announced consultations on the issue to last until the end of the year. The changes would allow it to implement an amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act passed in 2013. The 2013 changes removed a provision in the act exempting electronic signatures for land transactions. The act itself dates back to 2000 as an effort to remove legal barriers to the use of electronic communications.

The proposed changes include a draft regulation the government is considering for agreements of purchase and sale. It stipulates several requirements, including that the method used is reliable for the purpose of identifying the person who signs; ensures that the electronic signature is permanent; and is accessible so as to be usable for subsequent reference by anyone entitled to have access to the document or authorized to require its production.

Some real estate lawyers, such as Toronto’s Lisa Laredo, are greeting the latest chapter in electronic signatures with some skepticism, especially in light of the concern over the definition of reliability and the fact that other documents involved in the process would be on paper anyway. “We really do not live in a paperless world when it comes to real estate,” said Laredo.

As well, she wonders how much effort electronic signatures would save given that, in her case, she generally only meets clients once and has to meet with them in person at some point anyway. “You have to be able to identify the person,” she said, noting if she were to adopt electronic signatures, she’d still need the client to come to the office to do it on her own system.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, the majority of respondents don’t believe the government should relent on its cuts to refugee health care.

In an October ruling, the Federal Court of Appeal declined to stay a Federal Court decision that deemed the cuts to be cruel and unusual. But 65 per cent of poll respondents agreed the government has a right to restrict services to failed refugee claimants.

In her decision earlier this year, Federal Court Justice Anne Mactavish said she was “satisfied that the affected individuals are being subjected to ‘treatment’ as contemplated by section 12 of the Charter, and that this treatment is indeed ‘cruel and unusual.’”
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FIVE LAWYERS NAMED TO ONTARIO COURT
The provincial government has appointed five lawyers as judges of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Frank Crewe, Kate Doorly, Stuart Konyer, Riun Shandler, and Gerri Wong are the latest additions to the provincial court bench and will begin their new roles Nov. 19.

Crewe, a former criminal lawyer in sole practice, taught advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School and volunteered with the Ontario Justice Education Network. He’ll preside in Toronto.

Doorly is a Crown attorney who has held a variety of positions at the Ministry of the Attorney General over the past 23 years. A volunteer with the Lawyers Feed the Hungry program, she has also been an active fundraiser in her community. She, too, will preside in Toronto.

Konyer, a former criminal defence lawyer at May & Konyer Associates, was also president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa. He’ll preside in Lindsay, Ont.

Shandler worked as Crown counsel for the last 17 years and has taught mental health and criminal justice at Osgoode Hall Law School. He’ll sit in Toronto.
Wong managed her own law firm as a sole practitioner focusing on child protection matters. She has also practised family law and mediation in the past. A former member of the bench and bar committee for the Ontario Court, Wong taught at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law as well. She’ll preside in Chatham, Ont.

‘THICK SKIN’ DEFEATS ROBBERY CHARGE
In an interesting decision on the distinction between bank robbery and theft, a Superior Court judge has found a man who told a bank teller to hand over cash committed theft but not robbery.

“When someone walks into a bank and hands a teller a note demanding money, it is usually considered to be a robbery. But in the unique circumstances of this case, it was just a theft,” wrote Justice Gary Trotter in R. v. Oliveiros Ortega.

Trotter found that due to the absence of any threats during the incident, there was no robbery.

The judge made that finding even though the accused, Jorge Luis Oliveiros Ortega, had approached the bank counter and displayed a note that said: “This is a robbery, give me the money, my mother is sick.”

When the teller hesitated, Ortega, speaking in a calm voice, said, “Give me the money.”

“The teller testified that, during the incident, she did not fear for her own safety, or that of anyone else,” wrote Trotter.

“She agreed that she gave the accused the money because he asked for it and also because she felt sorry for him, given that he looked so young and his mother was sick.”

Although the Crown argued the crime in this case shouldn’t be dependent on the subjective reaction of the victim, the judge said that just as the thin-skulled victim argument can advance a prosecution, a person’s resilience could assist the defence as well.

“Far from having a thin skull, the teller in this case had a thick skin. While others might have reasonably been frightened, she did not experience any fear at all. In these unique circumstances, a properly instructed jury, acting reasonably, could not find that there was an implied threat that was accompanied by a reasonable apprehension of harm. There was no robbery.”

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

The majority of respondents say they’re happy with the province’s recent changes to legal aid eligibility.

Last month, the provincial government announced $95.7 million in funding over three years to increase the eligibility threshold for certificates, duty counsel, and legal clinic services.

According to the poll, 54 per cent of respondents felt the announcement was great news as the changes are long overdue while the remaining participants felt there’s still a long way to go to ensuring people can get legal assistance.
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LAWYER COMMENDED FOR WORK ON POSTHUMOUS CALL
The minister of veterans affairs has awarded Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP lawyer Patrick Shea a commendation for his work in piecing together the stories of 59 law students who died in the First World War.
As a result of Shea’s work, which included writing a book of biographies of the students, the Law Society of Upper Canada will hold a posthumous call to the bar ceremony on Nov. 10.
“He has dedicated hundreds of hours of research, including multiple trips to the archives in Ottawa, to prepare biographies and photos of these 60 soldiers,” the announcement of Shea’s commendation said.
The law society ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.
For more, see "Posthumous call for students killed at war."

LEADERSHIP CHANGE AT NORTON ROSE
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP has announced Charles Hurdon will become the firm’s new managing partner in the new year.
Hurdon, currently managing partner of the firm’s Ottawa office, will replace John Coleman. Coleman didn’t seek re-election after the end of his three-year term, according to the firm.
Hurdon said it’s an “exciting” time to lead the firm.
“It’s a very exciting time to be in this role. We have grown tremendously as Norton Rose Fulbright in Canada in the past several years as a legal practice and with our clients,” he said.
“This growth will continue as Canadian companies keep expanding their reach globally and even more international businesses invest here. We have a very bright future ahead of us and I look forward to building on our success.”

EQUALITY EFFECT HONOURED
International law firm Clifford Chance has named the Equality Effect the winner of its annual Access to Justice award.
Equality Effect, an organization based in Canada, uses human rights law to advocate for girls’ and women’s rights around the world with a particular focus on education, health, and sexual violence.
The award comes with a donation from the Clifford Chance foundation and 500 hours of pro bono work. The charity says it will use the funds to implement a landmark court ruling by the High Court of Kenya that
ordered “prompt, effective, proper, and professional investigations” into child-rape cases.
Fiona Sampson, executive director of the Equality Effect and one of Canadian Lawyer’s top 25 most influential lawyers this year, says the law can serve as “a crowbar to pry open justice” for women and girls.
“Women and girls around the world suffer unthinkable oppression and disadvantage, including sexual violence, lack of education, and the inability to own property,” she said.
“We know that the law can be used as a crowbar to pry open justice for these women and girls, empowering them and achieving social justice. With this award, we will be able to expand our successful projects including ‘160 Girls,’ our legal knowledge, and our contacts.”

NEW BOOK PROBES DIFFICULT CRIME CASES
Some of Canada’s most prominent criminal lawyers will tell the stories of some of their most difficult cases in a new book set to launch this month.
Tough Crimes: True Cases by Top Canadian Criminal Lawyers includes insights from several lawyers on some of the major cases they’ve worked on. The 19 lawyers featured include Edward Greenspan, Marie Henein, Bill Trudell, and John Rosen.
The book is about cases that had “weird or surprising turns, or that presented personal and ethical challenges,” according to the publisher. The launch takes place in Toronto on Nov. 27 at the Spoke Club from 5 to 10 p.m.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, 51 per cent of respondents believe Ontario should regulate short-term rentals through web sites such as airbnb.com.
There’s currently no law in Ontario around short-term rentals, but as indicated in a recent Law Times article, condominium corporations are battling with whether to include provisions that prohibit them. Several other jurisdictions, such as Quebec, have been taking action to regulate such situations, but lawyers have indicated they don’t expect Ontario to follow suit even as it looks to amend the province’s Condominium Act.
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SHARP DECREASE IN PARENTAL LEAVE PAYMENTS
Fewer lawyers took advantage of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s parental leave assistance program this year after the regulator restricted the program to those whose net practice income is less than $50,000 a year.

The law society’s 2015 budget projects the program will end the current year with a balance in excess of $350,000. That’s because the program paid out less money this year to assist lawyers on leave from their law practices due to childbirth than the year before.

“Likely attributable to the implementation of the means test in January 2014, payments for 2014 are significantly below previous years, $101,000 compared to $243,000 at this time last year,” according to law society budget documents.

The sharp decrease reflects “a reduction in the number of applicants for the program,” said bencher Peter Wardle, co-chairman of the law society’s audit and finance committee, during Convocation on Thursday.

In 2013, there were 54 successful applicants under the program. Until mid-October this year, there were 28 successful applicants under the new criteria.

Meanwhile, there’s some good news for lawyers in the law society’s budget for 2015: annual lawyer fees won’t be going up.

On Thursday, benchers voted to approve a budget that keeps the annual lawyer contribution at the current $1,866.

The fee freeze for 2015 is a result of money available from accumulated fund balances, according to the budget.

“The [2015] budget utilizes a combined total of $2 million (2014: $1.5 million) from accumulated fund balances to mitigate fee increases comprising $1.4 million from the lawyer fund balances and $618,000 from the paralegal fund balances,” according to budget documents. “If these funds were not utilized, lawyers’ annual fees would increase by $35 and paralegals’ by $132.”

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 55 per cent of respondents feel Ontario should eliminate civil jury trials.

Some commentators, such as Law Times social justice columnist Alan Shanoff, say juries are sometimes unable to fully understand and assess complex evidence in civil matters. In a recent column, Shanoff said the majority of civil jury trials involve litigation arising from motor vehicle accidents and suggested insurers choose such proceedings for “tactical reasons.”

“One would think insurance companies would do everything in their power to avoid jury trials. Surely, they’d want to have more predictability and consistent results. But insurers know there are tactical advantages to electing jury trials,” he wrote.

Some lawyers, however, have criticized those arguments, suggesting juries are more likely to come to fair decisions than judges in civil matters.

KINGSTON LAWYER DISBARRED
The Law Society Tribunal has disbarred a lawyer for, among other things, sexually harassing a client.

Kingston, Ont., lawyer Joseph Farant sexually harassed a client “with verbal and physical contact of a sexual nature,” a hearing panel has found.

The panel also found Farant withdrew trust funds he held on behalf of a client as payment for services before he delivered an account.

Besides taking away his licence, the panel ordered Farant to pay $41,000 in costs.

CBA FLAGS CONCERNS WITH BILL C-36
The Canadian Bar Association is flagging constitutional shortcomings in the federal government’s prostitution law.

The CBA says bill C-36 undermines the spirit of the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, a case in which the top court deemed Canada’s current prostitution laws unconstitutional.

“Bill C-36 introduces a number of measures which on their face appear to comply with the central aspects of the Bedford decision,” said Ian Carter, an executive member of the CBA’s national criminal justice section.

“However, the practical application of some of these provisions undermines the spirit of the
Bedford decision.”

The CBA says the Supreme Court’s key consideration in Bedford was whether the prostitution law makes working conditions for prostitutes more dangerous and therefore violates s. 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The legislation puts limits on communications about sex work. The CBA says the provision may contravene freedom of expression guarantees in the Charter.

ONTARIANS URGED TO MAKE A WILL
The Ontario Bar Association is partnering with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario to urge Ontarians to make a will this month.

The two organizations are collaborating this month to create and publicize information about end-of-life planning.

“A recent LawPRO survey has shown that less than half of Canadians have a valid will,” said OBA president Orlando Da Silva.

“The OBA has an obligation to improve the public’s awareness of this important legal tool and to help people overcome the intimidation they may feel in starting the planning process.”

Organizers say they’ll dispel common myths about making wills and give people the resources they need to get started.

“Many are unaware of just how affordable making a will can be or of the emotional and financial cost to families that can result from the failure to make one,” said Vince De Angelis, chairman of the OBA’s trusts and estates section.
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LAWYER RESIGNS OVER ‘UNSOLICITED CORRESPONDENCE’

A Toronto lawyer has surrendered her licence to practise law after a Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel found she had sent “unsolicited correspondence” to judges.

The panel allowed Jeunesse Hosein to surrender her licence, which she did during an Oct. 14 hearing.

Hosein sent “unsolicited correspondence in relation to previously litigated matters to two judges, despite having been specifically asked not to do so by the regional senior justice of the central west region,” according to the panel.

The panel also found the lawyer guilty of failing to co-operate with a law society investigation. It ordered her to pay $2,500 in costs to the law society.

Meanwhile, the law society disbarred another Toronto lawyer, Edmund Peterson, for failing to provide information to the regulator about “the disposition of his law practice.”

According to the order, the law society had sought documents from Peterson through a letter in January 2013.

WALK OF FAME HONOURS LOUISE ARBOUR

Renowned former Supreme Court of Canada justice Louise Arbour was one of six Canadians inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame recently.

Arbour, who recently became a jurist in residence at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, sat on the top court from 1999 to 2004. She also held various positions at the United Nations, including a high-profile role as high commissioner for human rights. Arbour currently sits on several Canadian and international advisory committees.

Having her name on Canada’s Walk of Fame along with actress Rachel McAdams is a different type of honour for Arbour, who has received 40 honorary doctorates from Canadian universities and has been a companion of the Order of Canada since 2007.

“We are proud to welcome these six new outstanding honourees to Canada’s Walk of Fame,” said Melanie Hurley, chief executive officer of Canada’s Walk of Fame.

“Each have impacted Canada’s social and cultural heritage across the country and around the world. They are inspiring and remind us that anything can be achieved with hard work.”

BENCHER ELECTION NOMINATIONS OPEN

Nominations are officially open for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 2015 bencher elections.

To qualify as candidates, lawyers wanting to run in the April 30 election must not have held the office of elected bencher for 12 or more years on June 1, 2015; have a home or business address within Ontario on the records of the law society; and not be under suspension at the time of signing the nomination form.

Nomination forms are due by Feb. 13, 2015, at 5 p.m. More information is available at lsuc.on.ca/bencher-election-2015.

LISA MUNRO NAMED BUSINESS ‘TRAILBLAZER’

Lerners LLP’s Toronto office co-managing partner Lisa Munro has won Profiles in Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching award, the law firm announced.

The publication named Munro one of 160 “executive trailblazers” as part of its awards celebrating the accomplishments of women in business.

“Nominated by her colleagues for her outstanding passion and influence, Munro has played a critical role at Lerners, both in and outside of the workplace,” Lerners said in a press release.

“Creating a work environment that not only fosters retention but also encourages loyalty, Munro is a strong force at Lerners. As a member of the executive committee, her contributions on matters such as strategic planning, succession, and fostering the development of young talent have had a positive effect on both Lerners’ financial performance and culture.”

POLL RESULTS

The results of the latest Law Times poll are in.

According to the poll, 88 per cent of respondents say they disagree with the Canadian Bar Association’s initial decision to intervene in the Chevron Corp. matter at the Supreme Court of Canada.

The CBA pulled the plug on its intervention just a day before the deadline for its factum amid controversy over its decision to intervene in the case. The CBA maintained it would be a neutral intervener in the oil company’s dispute with indigenous Ecuadorans who are trying to enforce a local judgment for $19.5 billion against Chevron in Ontario.

But some members of the bar threatened to withdraw their CBA memberships over the issue, arguing the case wasn’t an appropriate one for the organization to intervene in. Other lawyers have noted there are important corporate law principles at stake in the Chevron case.

In the end, the CBA said its own legislation and law reform committee had concluded the case didn’t meet the specific requirements of its intervention policy.

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JEFFREY LEON WINS LITIGATION AWARD
Bennett Jones LLP litigator Jeffrey Leon has received the Ontario Bar Association’s civil litigation award.

The award goes to a litigator who has made exceptional contributions through outstanding advocacy skills, professionalism, integrity and civility, and teaching. Throughout his 25-year career, Leon has “generously given back to his profession and the community it serves,” according to the OBA, which recognized Leon’s efforts as chairman of Pro Bono Law Ontario, a mentor, and a contributor to law school courses.

“Jeff Leon personifies everything this award is meant to recognize. His outstanding advocacy skills are matched only by his integrity and civility,” said Chris Jaglowitz, a partner at Gardiner Miller Arnold LLP in Toronto and chairman of the nomination and selection committee.

Mervyn Abramowitz, a partner at Kronis Rotsztain Margles Cappel LLP and chairman of the OBA civil litigation section, praised Leon’s work as well.

“Jeff Leon is the consummate professional. He has given back to the profession through his involvement in the OBA and countless other endeavours, including chairing the board of Pro Bono Law Ontario. He is a tribute to civil litigation and to our organization,” said Abramowitz.

Leon received the award on Oct. 16.

LAW UNION URGES MEMBERS TO QUIT CBA
The Law Union of Ontario has been asking members to resign from the Canadian Bar Association amid the controversy arising out of the CBA’s now-reversed decision to intervene in Chevron Corp. v. Daniel Carlos Lusitande Yaiguaje at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Although the CBA was seeking to be a neutral intervener in the multinational oil company’s legal battle with a group of Ecuadoran indigenous people, some members had told Law Times they were considering giving up their memberships with the organization because of the position it was taking in the Supreme Court matter.

In a letter to the CBA, the law union said: “Your intervention flies in the face of any concern for the environment; your stated commitment to access to justice; your own members’ objections; and our profession’s ethic requiring us to act in the public interest, unless acting for a party to litigation.”

The CBA had said its intervention would relate to foundational corporate law principles, specifically the corporate veil, and denies its action amounted to backing Chevron.

The thrust of the case against Chevron is that the company had caused extensive pollution in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador. The villagers had obtained judgment for $9.51 billion in a local court against Chevron and they’re now seeking to enforce that decision against the company’s assets in Ontario.

As Law Times reported on page 1 this week, the CBA announced on Thursday its decision not to proceed with its intervention in the case.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, the majority of respondents aren’t too eager to sign up for a dot-lawyer domain name for their web sites.

Eighty-three per cent of poll respondents said a domain name with the word “lawyer” on the right side of the dot is a cash grab that won’t do much for them.

The new generic top-level domain names like dot-lawyer and dot-attorney will be available only to those who can prove they’re lawyers, according to Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Lawyers can also preregister for domain names like dot-law and dot-legal that will become available later.     
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LSUC improving French language services
The Law Society of Upper Canada, in partnership with Ontario’s Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, is establishing new procedures to address complaints about the LSUC’s French-language services.

“This is an important confirmation of the rights of Ontarians, as well as a confirmation of the Law Society’s continuing commitment to access to justice in French,” said Janet Minor, the law society’s treasurer, in a release.

Under the new protocol, the FLSC will forward any complaints to the LSUC, which will then open a file and investigate every complaint.

While the procedures guarantee communication between the LSUC and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, the law society alone will determine what actions should be taken to resolve the complaint.

The law society and the commissioner will also meet at least once a year in order to discuss how the LSUC has been handling complaints.


New LAO family law partnership in Durham
In a new access to justice initiative, Legal Aid Ontario will be partnering with a Durham Region organization for women who have suffered domestic violence.

LAO will invest $600,000 over three years in the new partnership with Luke’s Place, an Oshawa, Ont., centre devoted to helping abused women and their children navigate the family law system.

LAO opened a new family law service centre in Oshawa in September.

“Women will receive holistic, wrap-around services based on Luke’s Place successful clinic model of lawyer/legal support worker team approach,” said Carol Barkwell, the executive director of Luke’s Place, in a release.

The new initiative will provide women who have experienced domestic violence with a variety of services. Staff lawyers will give legal advice and help drafting any documents needed for family court. Women will also have access to support workers, group support sessions and safety planning sessions.

The partnership is part of LAO’s broader family law strategy, which it announced in March.

Feldberg named managing partner at Faskens
Calgary energy lawyer Peter Feldberg will become the new firm managing partner of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP next Feb. 1.

Feldberg, who is currently chairman of the firm's partnership board, succeeds David Corbett who has served three terms in the position since 2006.

“I look forward to maintaining Fasken Martineau's strong client-service focus,” said Feldberg in a statement. “Our clients come first, and we understand that our success depends on their success.”

Ex-privacy commissioner joins Dentons
Chantal Bernier, the former interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, will be joining Dentons Canada LLP’s privacy and security practice as counsel in Ottawa.

Bernier served as interim privacy commissioner from December 2013 to June 2014 and had worked as assistant commissioner for the five years proceeding her appointment.

During her brief tenure at the helm of the agency, Bernier made waves by criticizing the government for monitoring and collecting data from Canadians’ social media profiles.

Before working in the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Bernier served in a number of government agencies and ministries including Public Safety Canada, the Privy Council Office, the Department of Justice, and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

 “In the digital age, when privacy risks and concerns are on the rise, Ms. Bernier’s perspective and insight as a seasoned regulator and senior executive will be a tremendous asset to our clients, in Canada and around the world,” said Chris Pinnington, Dentons Canada’s chief executive officer.
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TWU RULING OUTLINES WHO CAN INTERVENE
Faced with 14 motions to intervene in Trinity Western University’s judicial review application, Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer granted only some of them in a ruling last month.

Ten of the 14 applicants asked to intervene in favour of Trinity Western in its challenge of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s decision to deny accreditation of its planned law school.

But many of the 10 applicants, most of them religious groups, had similar viewpoints, according to Nordheimer. The court, he said, isn’t looking for “slight nuances.”

He granted intervener status to the Christian Legal Fellowship and jointly to the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Christian Higher Education Canada. He denied intervener status to the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, the Association for Reformed Political Action Canada, the Catholic Civil Rights League, and the Faith and Freedom Alliance.

He also granted the applications of The Advocates’ Society and the Criminal Lawyers’ Association as well as joint intervener status for Out On Bay Street and OUTlaws. However, he declined intervener status for the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers.

He also outlined some conditions. For example, they won’t seek costs or be subject to them, their submissions can’t be longer than 15 pages, they’ll have 30 minutes to speak, and they must file all of their materials electronically.

The decision comes as Canada’s law societies continue to grapple with the accreditation issue. On Sept. 26, the benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia decided to hold a referendum on the issue this month following a special general meeting that sought to reverse their earlier decision in favour of the law school. For its part, Trinity Western expressed disappointment at the latest development. “The referendum cannot be binding on the benchers,” said Trinity Western school of law executive director Earl Phillips.

COLUMNIST APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF TITLES
Law Society of Upper Canada Bencher and Law Times columnist Jeffrey Lem is the new director of titles for the Ontario government.

Lem started his term on Oct. 1. A certified specialist in real estate law, he most recently practised at Miller Thomson LLP.

In his new position, Lem is responsible for the Land Titles Act, the Registry Act, and the land registration system. He replaces assistant deputy minister Kate Murray, who retired from the position earlier in the year.

NEW OBA SECTION LAUNCHED
The Ontario Bar Association has a new section for child and youth law.

With Ontario’s children’s lawyer Lucy McSweeney at the helm, the section will focus on improving the experience of children and youth in the justice system.

“It is critical to recognize that, in virtually every area of the law, special considerations must be brought to bear in order to properly serve children and youth,” said McSweeney.

“Our new section will educate the bar and public-policy makers about these factors and thereby improve access to justice for Ontario’s vulnerable young people.”

The section launched last week together with an OBA professional development program that will help lawyers serve independent teens and youth who are seeking child support from their parents.

“When a child is forced to leave home involuntarily, parents continue to have financial support obligations. Many youth in these circumstances find themselves living on the street either unaware of their rights or unable to enforce them,” said Mary Birdsell, executive director of Justice for Children and Youth and vice chairwoman of the new section.

CLA GALA THIS MONTH
The Criminal Lawyers’ Association will host its 2014 past presidents gala on Oct. 29.

The CLA says the gala will honour “individuals that were vital voices for the criminal defence profession in Ontario through their leadership of the CLA.”

The CLA expects 400 senior lawyers to attend the gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. Criminal lawyer Edward Greenspan will be the keynote speaker for the night.

Those wanting to attend can register online on the CLA’s web site at criminallawyers.ca.
 
AVIATION PRACTITIONER JOINS JAMS
Aviation practitioner D. Bruce Garrow has joined JAMS as an arbitrator, mediator, and special master.

Garrow will serve in a variety of areas including aviation, aerospace insurance, maritime law, andproduct liability.

“Bruce is well known for his ability to resolve complex disputes involving insured risks and insurance coverage issues,” said Chris Poole, president and chief executive officer of JAMS.

“We’re thrilled to have him join our panel in Toronto.”

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 70 per cent of respondents feel there should be a dedicated number of bencher positions for solicitors at the Law Society of Upper Canada.

A movement is in the works to get more solicitors elected in the law society bencher elections next spring in light of their proportionately low numbers at Convocation. Some solicitors, like County of Carleton Law Association real estate lawyers committee chairwoman Nancy Johnson, say they should have a guaranteednumber of seats at Convocation, much like the situation for paralegals.

According to the majority of poll respondents, having a reserved number of seats for solicitors is the only way to ensure adequate representation.

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LAWPRO BASE PREMIUM FROZEN
Lawyers are once again getting a break on their LawPRO premiums next year.

Last week, benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada approved a freeze of the base premium lawyers must pay. It’s the fifth consecutive year of a premium freeze, LawPRO said last week.

The insurer touted strong financial results and moderating claims for the continuing premium freeze at $3,350. “In recent years, we have seen an upward trend in the number of open claims files as well as an increased number of large claims,” LawPRO said in its report to Convocation.

“This trend may now be reaching a plateau with count and cost remaining at a similar level as last year.”

Despite the generally positive outlook, LawPRO noted changes to the main solvency test for insurance companies, the minimum capital test, might affect its financial situation. “Fortunately, there has recently been announced a three-year phase-in period that will allow LawPRO to take appropriate action over time to moderate the effect of these changes,” LawPRO said in its report. “It should be noted, however, that our capital reserves will be under extra scrutiny during this period.”

KIMBERLY MURRAY TO RECEIVE LFO AWARD
This year’s recipient of the Law Foundation of Ontario’s 2014 Guthrie award is Kimberly Murray.

Murray, executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, is also a member of the Kahnesatake Mohawk Nation as well as co-director of Osgoode Hall Law School’s intensive program in aboriginal lands, resources, and governments.

“Kimberly Murray is an exceptional community leader and advocate for aboriginal access to justice, with a two-decade history of dedication to this cause. It will be an honour to present her with the 2014 Guthrie Award,” said Mark Sandler, chairman of the Law Foundation of Ontario.

“Ms. Murray has demonstrated an unwavering devotion to the advancement of human rights and access to justice for aboriginal people. She fights tirelessly to promote a fair and just application of the rule of law in Canada,” said lawyer Margaret Froh, who nominated Murray for the award.

The Guthrie award recognizes people for their contributions to access to justice and excellence in the legal profession.

NEW HIRE AT NORTON ROSE
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP says the former head of BlackBerry Ltd.’s global regulatory team has joined the law firm.

Stephen Whitney, who oversaw the regulatory as well as the devices and emerging solutions teams at BlackBerry, has joined the firm as counsel and will be working in the Waterloo, Ont., region.

“Stephen is an outstanding addition to our technology and innovation team,” said Andrew Fleming, managing partner of Norton Rose Fulbright’s Toronto office.

Fleming touted Whitney’s BlackBerry experience as “a tremendous fit for our clients.”

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 89 per cent of respondents say the legal profession doesn’t do enough to support lawyers with mental illness in light of the stigma and pressures of law practice.

Recently, the Ontario Bar Association’s new president, Orlando Da Silva, spoke openly about his struggles with depression in an interview with Law Times.

Da Silva said he decided to open up about his mental illness to encourage other lawyers with similar struggles to seek help. He said he did so against the advice of some of his closest friends but emphasized he wants others to know about the success he has enjoyed despite his depression.

MCMILLAN LAWYER MOVES TO BLG
Lydia Wakulowsky has joined Borden Ladner Gervais LLP as a partner.

Wakulowsky is joining BLG as a partner in its health-sector services group.

“It is fantastic that Lydia Wakulowsky decided to join BLG. As a new partner, she will bring considerable corporate, governance, privacy, regulatory and transactional experience to the health sector services group,” said Frank Callaghan, partner and national group head of corporate and capital markets at BLG.

“Her expertise will help solidify BLG’s health practice as the leading health sector services group in Canada.”

Wakulowsky, formerly of McMillan LLP, often acts for hospitals, long-term care facilities, health-care agencies, health-related charities, and other public health-care organizations. John Morris, national leader for health law at BLG, said Wakulowsky comes with a good reputation among the health sector.

“She is highly respected by health professionals and providers in Canada and outside the country among those expanding into the Canadian marketplace,” he said.
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TUITION-RELIEF PROJECT PLANNED
Osgoode Hall Law School says it will launch a five-year pilot program that will allow law students to defer tuition payments until they’ve graduated and their income allows them to repay the debt.

“If their income never reaches that point, the loan will be completely forgiven,” according to a news release from Osgoode.

The offer, called an income-contingent loan pilot program, will start in 2015. The school has yet to work out key aspects of the program such as eligibility and selection criteria.

“This program will provide an entirely new way to access legal education, and when combined with bursaries, scholarships, and graduation awards, will advance our goal that every admitted student should be able to obtain legal education at Osgoode regardless of financial means,” said Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin.

Sossin said the pilot program would receive $1 million in initial funding. Over the five-year period, Osgoode will assess the program to see if it’s furthering accessibility and inclusion.

But not everyone has been quick to celebrate the news. A blog post on the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance’s web site, written by Brandon Sloan, says students who earn lower incomes in the future due to wage discrimination could ultimately end up paying more for their education.

“The Equal Pay Coalition places the average wage gap for women in Ontario at 31.5 per cent — a number that will in fact be even higher for aboriginal or racialized women. Sometimes referred to as the feminization of debt, gendered and racialized pay inequities in Ontario’s labour market can result in women and racialized students being saddled with significant debt loads for longer periods than their male counterparts, as they will require lengthier repayment periods to pay off an [income-contingent loan] given their lower wages,” wrote Sloan.

“As a student’s repayment period drags on, so does the interest that student will pay on their loan, meaning that those students earning the lowest wages will in fact pay more for their education than those who are not disadvantaged by wage inequities.”

CLIFFORD HART JOINS BLG
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP says labour and employment lawyer Clifford Hart has joined its Toronto office as a partner.

The former Miller Thomson LLP lawyer brings more than 20 years of experience in his field, said BLG, calling Hart “a heavyweight” with “experience in a myriad of industries.”

“We have made significant strategic moves to build Canada’s best labour and employment team and adding Cliff is another important, timely step, particularly for our unionized clients,” said Matthew Certosimo, partner and national leader of labour and employment law at BLG.

NEW FELLOWS AT CIGI
The Centre for International Governance Innovation has announced the appointment of two new research fellows.

A new senior research fellow with the think-tank’s international law research program, environmental law practitioner David Estrin of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP looks at the effectiveness of international environmental law regimes, including in areas such as the governance and regulation of the extractive and energy sector. He’ll work with the think-tank on a part-time basis before taking a full-time role in Waterloo, Ont., in May.

Also appointed was Bassem Awad as a research fellow.

“Bassem’s expertise in international intellectual property law and international trade law will contribute significantly to CIGI’s focus on innovation, global governance, and international law,” said Oonagh Fitzgerald, director of the think-tank’s international law research program.

POLL RESULTS
The results for the latest Law Times online poll are in.

The right to sue in the personal injury field is always controversial, and in the latest poll the majority of respondents took issue with the Ontario government's plan to remove the right to sue auto insurers for accident benefits under bill 15.

In July, Finance Minister Charles Sousa introduced bill 15, the fighting fraud and reducing automobile insurance rates act. If passed, the bill would eliminate the right to sue an insurer for accident benefits through the Ontario Superior Court. Such disputes would instead go to the Licence Appeal Tribunal, a move the government says will promote efficiency and resolve matters faster.

But for 58 per cent of those who responded to the Law Times poll, forcing people to launch separate accident-benefits and tort proceedings will complicate the system.

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MICHAL FAIRBURN WINS CIVILITY AWARD

Michal Fairburn of Stockwoods LLP has received The Advocates’ Society’s Catzman award for professionalism and civility.

Fairburn, a criminal lawyer, received the award from Ontario Chief Justice George Strathy at the annual opening of the courts ceremony in Toronto last week.

Fairburn is “universally recognized for her persuasive advocacy and for her fairness and civility,” The Advocates’ Society said in announcing the award. Fairburn joined Stockwoods last year after more than two decades with the Ministry of the Attorney General’s criminal Crown law office where she was general counsel.

The Catzman award honours the late Ontario Court of Appeal justice Marvin Catzman. According to The Advocates’ Society, the award recognizes individuals who demonstrate the qualities exemplified by Catzman throughout his career: knowledge of the law, integrity, fairness, civility, generosity of time and expertise, and dedication to the highest ideals of the legal profession through writing and lecturing.


GOWLINGS DONATES $60K FOR ALS

Last week, Law Times reported on law firms and lawyers who did the ice bucket challenge.

One of those firms, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, has made a fairly significant donation to the ALS Society of Canada following the challenge.

“It was incredible how quickly our team came together to take the challenge and donate,” said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings’ chairman and chief executive officer, who presented the firm’s donation of about $60,000 on Sept. 8. “The firm-wide response was overwhelming and speaks to our commitment to finding a cure for ALS and supporting families who are living with this devastating disease.”

The $60,084 donation included individual contributions from lawyers and staff — which the firm matched — as well as a $10,000 lump-sum donation.


POLL RESULTS

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, about 65 per cent of respondents feel a requirement for dual signatures on trust accounts would be impractical for sole practitioners and feel the legal profession shouldn’t implement such a rule.

The debate on whether a single lawyer should be able to sign for funds held in a trust account followed Toronto lawyer Meerai Cho’s arrest on fraud charges in connection with millions of dollars in missing deposit fees for a North York condominium building. Proponents of a dual-signature rule say it would prevent similar situations from happening.

Cho, who was holding the deposits in trust, said she transferred the money to the condo developer by mistake. She blamed her inexperience for what happened, but police believe otherwise. She faces 75 charges related to fraud and breach of trust. None of the allegations have been proven in court. Cho is to appear on the charges in early October.

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PATRICK MCCANN JOINS FASKENS
Ottawa lawyer Patrick McCann has joined Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s litigation and dispute-resolution group.

According to Faskens, McCann’s practice will focus on white-collar crime, investigations, and compliance. The law firm said McCann, among the first group of lawyers to obtain certification as specialists in criminal law, has been practising for 40 years. “Our white-collar crime, investigations, and compliance practice area is dedicated to helping clients respond to criminal and regulatory investigations and litigation. Our team is already recognized as a leader in this field of law, with substantial experience in protecting client interests in domestic, multi-jurisdictional, and international situations,” said Martin Denyes, Faskens’ managing partner for Ontario.

“Having an outstanding criminal lawyer like Patrick join our team further enhances our group.”

LAWYER DISBARRED OVER PROPERTY DEALS
A Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel has disbarred a Scarborough, Ont., real estate lawyer for knowingly participating in fraud.

While the panel found Thelma Pushparanee Williams was careless in her work in relation to several transactions, in one case she was reckless when she knew the risk of fraud was real. “In one transaction, we found that the lawyer was aware of the risk of fraud and we found knowing participation in mortgage fraud on the basis of recklessness,” wrote panel chairman David Wright, adding the lawyer failed to advise her lender client of “an obviously sham credit.”

“She knew there were tenants in each of the units of the four-unit property, and commissioned and submitted to her lender client a statutory declaration that said the purchaser would live in the property and it would be used as a single-family dwelling,” wrote Wright in describing one of the problems cited in the case.

“She said she did so because she did not know whether the purchaser would live in the property after the sale. The lender sold this property several years later under power of sale for approximately $88,000 less than the value of the mortgage.”

The panel said it had no confidence in Williams’ ability to act cautiously when “unusual” matters arose in her practice. “When transactions did not have unusual features, the lawyer served her clients well,” wrote Wright in the Aug. 26 decision of the law society tribunal hearing panel. “However, the lawyer’s ethical failings showed when matters were unusual or she was under pressure. She failed to prepare as a professional for such circumstances by educating herself, or to give sufficient attention to the aspects of real estate transactions that may require the detailed attention, expertise, and judgment of a lawyer.”

The panel also ordered Williams to pay $5,000 in costs to the law society.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

Despite some controversy, the majority of respondents agree with Legal Aid Ontario’s move to expand duty counsel services. According to the poll, 63 per cent of respondents said they agree with the duty-counsel expansion as LAO needs to find a way to increase services and provide them more efficiently.

As Law Times reported in recent weeks, LAO has been hiring a spate of new duty counsel with the prospect of some of them taking on an expanded role in the court system. It said it embarked on the new hiring following a financial analysis that found it’s cheaper in some areas to hire staff rather than pay private-bar lawyers on a per diem basis to do duty-counsel work.

Some lawyers, however, have been critical. The Criminal Lawyers’ Association suggested LAO should also invest in private-bar services through legal aid certificates.
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LAW GRAD’S ROYAL SUCCESSION APPEAL DENIED
A recent law graduate who challenged royal succession rules barring Catholics from ascending to the throne has lost his appeal.

Bryan Teskey took his matter to the appeal court after Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland found he didn’t have standing to challenge the royal succession rules.

In a decision last week, the appeal court agreed with Hackland’s finding.

“We agree with Hackland R.S.J. that Mr. Teskey’s application does not raise justiciable issues and that Mr. Teskey lacked standing to bring the application,” the court said in Teskey v. Canada (Attorney General).

“The rules of succession are a part of the fabric of the constitution of Canada and incorporated into it and therefore cannot be trumped or amended by the Charter, and Mr. Teskey does not have any personal interest in the issue raised (other than being a member of the Roman Catholic faith) and does not meet the test for public interest standing.”

Last year, Teskey told Law Times the rules against Catholics were discriminatory. It also sets a “dangerous precedent,” he said. “It says politicians can choose who gets rights. It’s very odd that the government of Canada says Catholics and only Catholics cannot become heads of state.”

For more, see "Law grad plans appeal after royal succession challenge dismissed."

BLG LANDS LOUISE ARBOUR
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP has landed one of Canada’s best-known lawyers.

Former Supreme Court of Canada justice Louise Arbour has joined BLG as counsel, the firm announced last week.

“Joining BLG provides an opportunity for new challenges in my career. I have long admired the firm’s litigation work and its contribution to the profession particularly through work done on a pro bono basis,” said Arbour, who noted she’s looking forward to working with the international trade litigation and arbitration group at the firm.

Arbour, recently named one of Canada’s top 25 most influential lawyers by Canadian Lawyer, also served as United Nations high commissioner for human rights as well as president and chief executive officer of the International Crisis Group.

GUBERMAN GARSON JOINS DELOITTE ALLY
The accounting world’s activity in the legal field continues to grow with the announcement last week that Guberman Garson Immigration Lawyers is joining an immigration law firm allied with Deloitte LLP.

The new firm, Guberman Garson Segal LLP, will offer services in Canadian, U.S., and international immigration law. “This transaction expands Guberman Garson’s reach globally, as our alliance with Deloitte in Canada brings us into Deloitte’s network of global immigration firms,” said David Garson, managing partner of Guberman Garson Segal LLP.

“Clients prefer the convenience of having a service provider that can offer Canadian, U.S., and international immigration services around the world. As the global immigration law firm allied with Deloitte, we are now fully equipped to meet those needs in a cost-effective manner.”

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 59 per cent of respondents agree with the Canadian Bar Association Legal Futures report’s recommendations to liberalize the ownership of law firms.

The majority of poll respondents agreed the legal profession needs to move quickly on innovation, while the remaining participants felt the risks of doing so are too great.

In a report released last month at the CBA’s annual conference, the Legal Futures team recommended a liberalized regulatory model that would allow for publicly traded law firms.

The report also said additional capital and flexibility would foster new ways of meeting client needs left unsatisfied by the existing regime.   
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FIVE NEW JUDGES NAMED
The province has appointed five new judges to the Ontario Court of Justice.

Jill Copeland, Karen Lische, Kevin McHugh, Paul Monahan, and Peter Andras Schreck will take office effective Aug. 27.

Copeland was a partner at Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP and worked as an executive legal officer at the Supreme Court of Canada prior to now. She’ll preside in Brampton, Ont.

Lische, who worked as an assistant Crown attorney for the Ministry of the Attorney General for the last 13 years, previously practised family law at Miller Maki. She’ll preside in Sudbury, Ont.

McHugh, a criminal lawyer for 14 years, will take his post in Walkerton, Ont., this week.

Monahan, a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP for the past 19 years, is a litigator as well as a mediator and arbitrator. He’ll sit in Brampton along with Schreck, a partner at Schreck Presser LLP. Schreck is a criminal lawyer who has taught evidence law at Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

JP GETS SEVEN-DAY SUSPENSION
Justice of the Peace Alfred Johnston has received a seven-day suspension without pay and is to apologize following a penalty decision in his misconduct case.

A panel of the Justices of the Peace Review Council found Johnston used a “mocking” and “sarcastic” tone when a defendant, Alex Leaf, couldn’t properly pronounce a case he was referring to while representing himself in court. In its decision last week, the panel ordered Johnston to apologize in writing to Leaf. He was also under fire for dismissing a slew of cases over a prosecutor’s tardiness.

“The misconduct in this instance was serious. It struck at the heart of the administration of justice, and in the public confidence attached to it,” wrote the panel chaired by Ontario Court Justice Marjoh Agro. “Warnings, reprimands, education or treatment are simply insufficient or inapplicable to remedy the misconduct.”

The finding left the panel with the option of suspension, with or without pay, or recommending Johnston’s removal from office.

“A recommendation that a judicial officer be removed from office is a severe sanction. In our view, it should only be ordered where no other combination of sanctions could reasonably achieve the overriding objective,” the panel said.

Although he initially defended his actions in dismissing 68 charges, Johnston later admitted both incidents constituted misconduct. In a letter of apology he wrote to the review council, Johnston said he had been going through a divorce and ill health at the time of the incidents.

“I was suffering from a great degree of stress, but did not seek out assistance,” he wrote. “I am very much a private person and did not feel comfortable sharing my struggles with others. Instead, I attempted to resolve these issues personally. This approach led me to become even more isolated and upset with my circumstances.”

But to the panel, Johnston’s apology was a little too late. “Indeed, there is no evidence that His Worship expressed regret or apologized for any of his actions in his responses to the complaints or prior to June 9th, 2014,” the panel wrote.

In one of the complaints, Leaf, a courier driver, was defending himself on a charge of using a handheld device when he couldn’t pronounce the name of the R. v. Askov case. According to review council presenting counsel Marie Henein, Johnston’s response was “intemperate, mocking, and sarcastic, which was wholly unnecessary.”

For more, see "JP has change of heart, admits misconduct in tossing 68 charges."

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, the majority of participants say Justice Minister Peter MacKay should have attended the Canadian Bar Association’s recent annual conference in St. John’s.

About 79 per cent of respondents said MacKay should have attended the conference and spoken to attendants as per tradition. When invited to the conference, the minister sent his regrets to the CBA after citing a scheduling conflict. It was the first time a Canadian justice minister had missed the conference in recent memory.

LAWYER ALLOWED TO SURRENDR LICENCE
A Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel has allowed a Toronto lawyer to surrender his licence to practise law after finding he knowingly participated in real estate fraud.

David Hugh Molson assisted fraudulent conduct by his vendor, purchaser, and refinancing clients in connection to 12 transactions, the panel found. He also failed to “conduct himself in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the profession,” according to the panel.

The panel also ordered Molson to pay $35,000 in costs to the law society.
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PURDY CRAWFORD MOURNED
Canada’s legal community is mourning the death of the “dean emeritus of Canada’s corporate bar.”

“He just got it into his mind that the way to build the firm was to build other people — grow a lot of big trees instead of a lot of little trees,” said Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP vice chairman Brian Levitt of Purdy Crawford.

Crawford, who began his career at Oslers, died after an illness in Toronto last week at age 82. A leader in corporate and securities law at the firm, he moved to the corporate world in 1985 as head of Imasco Ltd. “This was the beginning of an illustrious career in business, during which Purdy led corporations, sat on the boards of some of Canada’s most significant public companies, advised on high-profile matters, chaired committees and important government panels, lectured as a law school professor, and gave freely of his time and expertise to philanthropic causes of importance to him,” the firm said. “Purdy was extraordinary in so many respects: widely considered the ‘dean emeritus of Canada’s corporate bar,’ one of Canada’s foremost business leaders, thought leader to the Canadian securities industry, and a great philanthropist,” the firm said in a tribute.

COTLER, FODDEN HONOURED BY CBA
The Canadian Bar Association honoured former justice minister Irwin Cotler and blogger Simon Fodden with its president’s award last week.

On Wednesday, the CBA presented the award during its annual legal conference in St. John’s. “As a teacher, practitioner, and lawmaker, Irwin Cotler has made significant contributions to how lawyers view law, how law can be used as a vehicle for social change, and how our laws can be improved,” said outgoing CBA president Fred Headon of the current Liberal MP.

Headon also honoured Fodden, an academic who helped found Osgoode Hall Law School’s program in poverty law at Parkdale Community Legal Services and creator of the Slaw blog. “Not content to just retire after a long and distinguished academic career, he showed us how to innovate,” said Headon.

Slaw “has had a significant impact on the profession, serving as a forum to exchange ideas and to encourage change,” he added.

The president’s award recognizes significant contributions to the legal profession, the CBA or public life in Canada.

E-FILING PILOT FOR SMALL CLAIMS
The Ministry of the Attorney General has launched a pilot project for electronically filing plaintiff claims with the Small Claims Court in select cities.

The pilot began last Monday for claims filed in Ottawa, Brampton, Oshawa, and Richmond Hill, Ont. Under it, plaintiffs can prepare and file all forms by going to ServiceOntario’s online business portal. They can also obtain default judgment online if the defendant doesn’t file a defence with the court within 20 days of service.

The ministry expects to expand the service across the province early next year. Currently, only plaintiffs can file claims online and they must be for a fixed amount of money related, for example, to a debt owed under a contract.

LAWYERS’ WORK HOURS ON THE RISE: SURVEY
Given the uncertainty in the legal profession, it’s perhaps not surprising that lawyers are working longer hours.

But according to Robert Half Legal, the numbers should prompt managing partners and general counsel to pay attention to the stress lawyers are under. The survey of 350 lawyers at North American law firms and corporations noted more than half of respondents report working more hours over the last five years. More than a third of lawyers said they work more than 55 hours a week while the median response was 50 hours a week.

LAO NUMBERS UPDATE
The number of people assisted by duty counsel declined in recent months, Legal Aid Ontario noted in its fourth-quarter performance review for 2013-14.

The numbers declined by 1.2 per cent compared to the previous year, according to LAO. The organization said the decrease reflects the trend towards hearing fewer events in court as well as court-efficiency efforts like the Justice on Target project.

In addition, LAO saw a slight decline in assistance aimed at moving cases to resolution. Dispositive services in civil or family matters dropped to 29,779 in the quarter from 31,218 the previous year. For criminal matters, dispositive services decreased to 91,505 from 101,633 the year before.

In the report, LAO also noted its new pilot project in select cities to offer mediation advice from a family lawyer.
 
NO AUTOMATIC RIGHT TO STATE-FUNDED COUNSEL
A young offender has had his bid for an automatic right to state-funded counsel for the indigent on a first appeal.

In R. v. P.C., the applicant sought a declaration that s. 684.(1) of the Criminal Code violated his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The section gives judges discretion to appoint counsel for those without means on appeal “where it appears desirable in the interests of justice.”

The youth is appealing his manslaughter conviction but lacks the money to retain a lawyer, according to the Ontario Court of Appeal’s ruling on the constitutional issue last week. As part of its decision, the appeal court found in favour of having judges consider the merits of the appeal before appointing counsel. “The accused is entitled to conduct his appeal as he sees fit,” wrote Justice Karen Weiler.

“It is not unheard of for an accused to raise a ground of appeal for which there is a complete lack of support in the trial record, such as alleging that the trial judge was biased. Although the appeal does not raise an ‘arguable’ issue, the accused can still make the submission. However, assuming the accused has the ability to have his submission communicated to the court, either directly or through an interpreter, the appointment of counsel will not assist the accused in effectively presenting his appeal. Nor will the panel hearing the appealrequire the assistance of counsel in order to decide the appeal. Thus, requiring the accused to demonstrate that he has an arguable appeal does not treat the accused unfairly.”

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LAWYER REPRIMANDED FOR POSTING DISCLOSURE ONLINE
The Law Society Tribunal’s hearing division has reprimanded an Ottawa lawyer who posted Crown disclosure online.

In a penalty decision on July 30, a hearing panel reprimanded David Ian Anber and ordered him to pay $7,205 in costs.

Anber, a 33-year-old lawyer who focuses on vehicular offences, had earlier admitted to committing professional misconduct. The disciplinary panel, chaired by Lyle Kanee, found Anber had breached his client’s confidentiality and his undertaking to the Crown to keep the disclosure “strictly confidential” and had failed to maintain the integrity of the profession.

Anber admitted that on Nov. 25, 2012, he “mistakenly and foolishly” posted Crown disclosure in PDF format for his client’s fraud case on freelancer.com, an Internet site where people can bid on jobs offered by individuals.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Anber asked on his posting if anyone could provide a program to remove “black boxes redactions” from documents. He posted disclosure in his client Kimberley Billings’ fraud case as a sample of the kind of material he wanted unredacted.

Law society prosecutor Suzanne Jarvie asked the panel to penalize Anber with full costs of $7,205 and a “short but sharp” two-month licence suspension. Anber’s lawyer, Michael Johnston, asked for a reprimand but no suspension.

CIGI PROGRAM ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS NAMED
Five experts have joined the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s international law research program’s advisory committee.

The five new members include Lawrence Herman of Herman & Associates; Valerie Hughes, director of legal affairs at the World Trade Organization; Meg Kinnear, secretary general of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes; Barry Sookman, a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP; and Stephen Toope, incoming director of the Munk School of Global Affairs.

The law program is a $60-million, 10-year effort launched in 2013 aimed at developing the knowledge economy. It includes 19 research fellows and 20 scholarships. The advisory committee assists with developing a strategic plan, reviewing program activities, and suggesting ways to enhance it.

LAWYER’S APPEAL DISMISSED IN MORTGAGE CASE
The Divisional Court has upheld a Law Society of Upper Canada appeal finding that considered how the regulator must prove fraud.

On July 30, the court rejected lawyer Rosario Talarico’s appeal of the appeal panel’s ruling ordering a new hearing in his case. While a hearing panel had rejected an allegation he participated or knowingly assisted in fraudulent or dishonest conduct by not being honest and candid when advising his clients, the appeal panel found errors in that decision earlier this year.

According to the court, Talarico acted for the ultimate purchaser and institutional lender on 13 flip transactions involving a property sold at an inflated price. In 2013, the hearing panel rejected the allegations on the basis that it was impossible to draw inferences of fraud without evidence from those involved in the transactions. According to the hearing panel, the law society called no witness to testify Talarico had misled them or they had suffered an economic loss due to his conduct.

In its decision, the appeal panel found two errors on how the law society must prove fraud. First, it erroneously believed it needed evidence from the participants in the transactions or the institutional lenders. Second, it suggested it couldn’t infer the elements of fraud from circumstantial evidence. In his appeal, Talarico argued, among other things, that the appeal panel failed to accord the requisite deference to the hearing panel’s findings of fact and assignment of weight.

In the Divisional Court ruling, however, Justice Michael Dambrot found the appeal panel’s decision was reasonable. “If the hearing panel had properly understood the elements of fraud, and the role of circumstantial evidence in proving it, the panel could, and no doubt would have found that there was a fraud in this case,” he wrote in Law Society of Upper Canada v. Talarico.

“Once satisfied that there was a fraud, it could have appropriately determined whether or not the appellant participated in it. But having misunderstood the nature of fraud, the panel’s conclusion that it is ‘impossible to draw inferences of fraud or dishonest conduct or intent’ on the part of the appellant is fatally flawed.”

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, almost 63 per cent of respondents believe Ontario should follow Alberta in raising the small-claims limit to $50,000. On Aug. 1, the Provincial Court of Alberta’s civil claims limit increased to $50,000 from $25,000. By increasing the limit to $50,000 for small claims, individuals can go into small claims court, have access to a judge, and get a dispute resolved faster. Besides the change, Alberta is looking to divert landlord-and-tenant cases from the court system and further speed up the justice system by allowing for 30-minute summary trials.

For more, see "Lawyer who posted Crown disclosure online admits 'terrible mistake.'"
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TWO NEW JUDGES NAMED
The Ontario government has appointed two new judges to the Ontario Court of Justice.

Mary Misener and David Rose will preside in Newmarket, Ont. Prior to her appointment, Misener was an assistant Crown attorney for the Ministry of the Attorney General’s guns and gangs initiative. She has also taught criminal law at the University of Toronto and served on the board of directors of the John Howard Society.

Rose was a founding partner at Neuberger Rose LLP before managing his own criminal law practice more recently. As a lawyer, he has appeared at all levels of court. He has also worked pro bono for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and serves as a board member for the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre and George Herman House.

The appointments are effective Aug. 6.

FAMILY LAW SERVICES BOOSTED
Legal Aid Ontario says it will offer free family law advice at four more courthouses in northwestern Ontario this summer.

“Clients in Sioux Lookout, Fort Frances, Red Lake, and Dryden who are either new to the family court system or who don’t have a lawyer can receive free assistance at the [family law information centre], which is located in the courthouse,” LAO announced.

Lawyers will be available to provide brief advice on how the court process works and refer people to other sources of assistance, LAO said. For financially eligible clients, case-specific services such as document review and preparation will be available. The added services began in July with other dates set for August at the various courthouses.

SETTLEMENT IN OVERTIME CASE
The Bank of Nova Scotia has reached a settlement in one of the overtime class actions.

On July 24, Scotiabank announced it had reached an agreement with representative plaintiff Cindy Fulawka to settle the Fulawka v. The Bank of Nova Scotia overtime case.

According to the bank, a hearing for approval of the proposed settlement will take place on Aug. 12. The case, which dates back to December 2007, involved some full-time retail branch employees who held positions such as personal banking officer, senior personal banking officer, financial adviser, and account manager for small business.

The settlement includes a claims process, according to the bank. If the court approves it, class members will be able to make claims for any overtime they worked for which they didn’t receive compensation during the claim period.

The case is one of a series of class actions over unpaid overtime. They include the ongoing case launched by Dara Fresco against the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, just over 75 per cent of respondents are in favour of the federal government’s changes to the temporary foreign worker program.

The majority of respondents agreed with a statement that the program had gotten out of control and is in need of an overhaul.

In the face of controversy, the Canadian government is reforming the program to ensure employers put Canadian workers first before bringing in labour from foreign countries. But changes to curtail the program in the fast-food sector have been particularly controversial among small businesses that argue it’s too difficult to find Canadians willing to do the work. In the poll, almost 25 per cent of respondents felt the changes will be unfair to employers and suggested the government should address the problems through enforcement.
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Law Times poll

A recent Court of Appeal decision acknowledged a ‘new reality’ of civil litigation in which courts are seeing a significant number of self-represented litigants. Are courts are doing a good job of addressing the needs of self-represented litigants?
Yes, judges are doing a good job of ensuring trial fairness.
No, courts have only just begun to consider the many issues surrounding self-represented litigants.