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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.”

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.

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.

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 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.


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.


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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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.”

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.

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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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."

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.

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.”

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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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.

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."

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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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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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, 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.

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.

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.”

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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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.

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.

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.

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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The masters of the Ontario Superior Court are mourning the death of one of their colleagues this month.

Master Richard Peterson, who had served in the role since 1984, died at his summer home on Georgian Bay on July 18, according to an obituary in The Globe and Mail. The 67-year-old master had been working part-time until the time of his death.

Crime rates in Canada have gone down along with the severity of the offences committed, according to new data released by Statistics Canada.

The volume and severity of crimes declined by nine per cent last year from 2012. The index has been going down steadily over the last decade, according to Statistics Canada, which reported the severity of the crime reported has decreased by 36 per cent in the last 10 years.

Crime rates also declined in that time period. Recent data shows the crime rate in Canada fell by eight per cent in 2013 compared to 2012. Canadian police services reported just over 1.8 million criminal incidents in 2013, a decrease of 132,000 from the previous year.

Last year, all Canadian jurisdictions other than the Yukon and Newfoundland and Labrador reported a decrease in the volume and severity of criminal incidents. Yukon saw a six-per-cent increase, whereas Newfoundland reported a one-per-cent rise.

A Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel has recused itself from a disciplinary proceeding after a witness overheard the panel members badmouthing her in the hallway.

In a matter dealing with an alleged failure to respond to law society communications, an LSUC investigator was to appear as a witness. During her testimony, some documents had to be sorted from various boxes, according to a July 15 ruling on the recusal matter. To allow for this to happen, the investigator and the panel left the room.

While outside, the investigator overheard the panel, chaired by Susan Richer, call her “sloppy” and say she didn’t understand things because “she’s never been a real lawyer.”

The witness discussed what she had heard with the law society counsel, who brought a motion for recusal of the panel based on a claim that it had formed an opinion too early in the disciplinary process.

“Had the witness overheard this panel discussing her evidence after she had finished testifying, or had someone else overheard our deliberations while the witness was still testifying, we would not have recused ourselves.
However, at the heart of this motion is trial fairness,” the panel wrote.

“The investigator, having inadvertently heard her evidence discussed in terms that could be seen as negative, had to go right back into the hearing room and continue testifying. No one, including herself, can know what effect that had on her focus and her ability to recall.  It must also be remembered that she had not expected to testify at all at this hearing.”

The panel added: “This is not fair to the witness or to the hearing process.”

Following a number of decisions dealing with adverse costs orders against lawyers, a judge has found a law firm and two of its lawyers should pay for what he called “egregious” misconduct in a family law case.

Nanda & Associate Lawyers PC and two of its lawyers are collectively facing a $13,000 bill after the court found they tried to bring a motion on nine minutes notice, made false representations to a judge, and started an action in the wrong forum to get a “home-court advantage.”

One of the firm’s lawyers filed an action in Brampton, Ont., when he should have done so in Kitchener, Ont., wrote Superior Court Justice Grant Campbell in Sangha v. Sangha on July 11.

“By using the ‘rush-in and get-there-first’ (in the court closest to the law firm’s offices) tactic, Mr. Cook and Nanda and Associates (he represents the firm and his decisions, or perhaps his following the firm’s policy to only litigate in Brampton, binds his firm as well) can be faulted for committing a gross error in judgment and for intentional conduct that willfully disregarded the impact of his decision to litigate in the wrong forum,” wrote Campbell.

The firm, which represented the wife in a family law case, also made a false claim that the father had planned to abduct the couple’s child, according to Campbell. He ordered the firm to pay $5,000 with another $5,000 payable by one lawyer and a further $3,000 by another counsel who appeared on the matter.

The decision follows other rulings ordering lawyers to personally pay costs in cases such as 1250294 Ontario Ltd. v. 2141065 Ontario Inc. on July 8 and Bailey v. Barbour on June 18.

Former Fogler Rubinoff LLP partner Cathryn Sawicki has joined Baker & McKenzie LLP.

The immigration lawyer is joining the firm as a partner in its global immigration and mobility practice department.

“Our clients know that Canada's immigration regime is facing additional scrutiny and adjustment, and companies want to stay ahead of the curve as they continually enhance and expand their global mobility programs,” said Betsy Morgan, head of Baker & McKenzie’s global immigration and mobility practice.

“Cathryn’s 15 years of experience handling Canadian immigration matters is an excellent addition to our global practice, and we’re delighted she is joining the team.”

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

According to the poll, 86 per cent of respondents doubt the federal government’s new prostitution law will survive a constitutional challenge.

Critics have assailed the federal government’s legislation that would mainly target pimps and johns in the sex industry. Introduced as a response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on the existing prostitution laws last year, opponents say the legislation will drive prostitutes further underground and put their safety at risk. The government argues it’s seeking to protect prostitutes from exploitation.
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Ministry of the Attorney General counsel Orlando Da Silva is the new president of the Ontario Bar Association.

Da Silva replaces past president Pascale Daigneault in the role. Da Silva was previously the first vice president of the OBA, a role now filled by Edwin Upenieks. Elected to the position of second vice president is David Sterns of Sotos LLP.

In addition, Scotiabank senior legal counsel Lynne Vicars becomes the OBA’s treasurer.

A Superior Court judge has ordered a lawyer to personally pay costs for furbishing “unfounded allegations” against the plaintiff in a case.

In 1250294 Ontario Ltd. v. 2141065 Ontario Inc., the plaintiff, lawyer Ben Martin, had brought a summary judgment motion for foreclosure of a Sikh temple on his property in Brampton, Ont. The judge granted the summary judgment motion and dismissed the defendants’ counterclaim.

During the summary judgment motion, the defendants’ counsel, Doug LaFramboise, caused unnecessary waste of resources, the court found, and ordered the lawyer to jointly or severally pay the $79,000 in costs awarded against his clients.

“The record for the motion establishes that it was Mr. LaFramboise who was the mastermind of the congregation’s corporation’s factual and legally untenable defence strategy that included serious and ultimately unfounded allegations of fraud and impropriety by Mr. Martin, including an allegation that Mr. Martin, who is an officer of this court, had misled and deceived the court,” wrote Justice Paul Perell in his July 8 reasons for his decision on costs.

He added: “In the case at bar, Mr. LaFramboise fashioned a defence for his client that was untenable and that falsely maligned the professional reputation of Mr. Martin. Absent an explanation from Mr. LaFramboise, this is an appropriate case to make him personally responsible for the costs of the proceedings in the amount of $79,021.50, all inclusive.”

In an unusual decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has awarded damages to a man in a malicious prosecution case where the defendant was a witness instead of police or the Crown.

Drainville v. Vilchez is an uncommon example of a successful malicious prosecution suit against a private individual.

“Normally, the person or entity against whom a malicious prosecution suit is brought is the police or the Crown,” wrote Justice Peter Howden on July 4.

“There are rare cases like this one where the complainant has been the defendant, without creating even a ripple on the surface of the lake of analytic discipline.”

Plaintiff Denis Drainville had been criminally charged and subsequently acquitted of mischief and dangerous driving. The person who had reported him to the police, Mario Vilchez, was the target of the malicious prosecution suit.

Vilchez lied to police about Drainville hitting him with his vehicle at a gas station in 2011 when, in fact, he had put his legs in contact with Drainville’s front bumper, the judge found.

The court ordered Vilchez to pay Drainville $23,866.37 for legal fees and the additional rent payment the plaintiff incurred because of the original criminal charges.

“He lied to the police knowing that a criminal prosecution against Mr. Drainville would follow,” wrote Howden.

Changes to Legal Aid Ontario’s certificate eligibility requirements will allow for assistance to an additional one million low-income Ontarians as the Liberals reintroduced their 2014 budget on July 14.

The fate of the changes hinged on the outcome of the recent provincial election as the campaign began after the Liberals announced expanded legal aid coverage in their original budget in May.

“Thanks to higher financial eligibility thresholds for legal aid, more low-income people will have access to justice,” said LAO chairman John McCamus.

“This new investment will make the courts work more efficiently by reducing the number of self-represented litigants in the judicial system — this is good news for all Ontarians.”

The change represents the first update to LAO’s eligibility threshold since the mid-1990s.

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The province has appointed Toronto family lawyer Victoria Starr as a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Starr, who ran her own law firm, practised family and child protection law. She has been a panel member for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer as well as chairwoman of the Family Lawyers Association. Starr also taught at Centennial College.

Starr will preside in Milton, Ont., in her new role.

The province also named two new regional senior justices of the peace last week.

Justice of the peace Theodore Hodgins is the new regional senior justice of the peace for the northeast region. Hodgins, who became a justice of the peace in 1990, replaces regional senior justice of the peace Kathleen Bryant.

Meanwhile, justice of the peace Raymond Zuliani becomes regional senior justice of the peace in the northwest region. He replaces regional senior justice of the peace Bruce Leaman.

Legal Aid Ontario says it will fund 15 new clinic projects through a three-year, $9-million commitment.

The funded projects focus on “delivering integrated services through existing community access points and clinic modernization,” LAO said in a news release last week.

“We are pleased to fund these projects, which will make an important difference in clients’ ability to access justice” said LAO board chairman John McCamus.

“We were impressed with the thinking that went into the proposals we received — so much so, that LAO will support some of the projects that didn’t meet the funding criteria through other LAO funds.”

The funded organizations included:
—    The ARCH Disability Law Centre for $205,000
—    The Chatham-Kent Legal Clinic for $95,000
—    The Community Legal Clinic of Simcoe - Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes for $275,000
—    Eastern region community legal clinics for $265,000
—    Flemingdon Community Legal Services for $400,000
—    Halton Community Legal Services for $380,000
—    HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario for $55,000
—    Legal Clinic of Guelph and Wellington County for $150,000
—    Northern Ontario Community Legal Clinic for $239,160
—    Northumberland, Durham, and community legal clinics (Orillia) for $115,840
—    Northwest Community Legal Clinic, Huron Perth Legal Clinic, Community Advocacy and Legal Centre, and Northumberland Community Legal Clinic for $380,000
—    Rural Legal Services and Lanark, Leeds and, Grenville Legal Clinic for $75,000
—    Specialty clinics transformation project for $125,000
—    Waterloo Region Community Legal Services for $150,000
—    Windsor-Essex Bilingual Legal Clinic for $90,000

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

According to the poll, about 64 per cent of respondents said they were ready when the anti-spam legislation took effect. The majority said they had sent their consents and were up on the rules so they could advise their clients.

The anti-spam legislation took effect on July 1. It creates a whole set of rules around consents for sending commercial electronic messages as well as significant monetary penalties for those who break the rules.
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A B.C. judge has ordered the arrest of a former Ontario lawyer who has been practising law without a licence.

The court had found former lawyer John Gorman, previously disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada, in contempt in 2011 after he continued to practise law in British Columbia.

At the time, B.C. Supreme Court Justice John Savage had imposed a two-week incarceration and a $5,000 fine against Gorman, but the former lawyer never served the sentence or paid the money owing, according to a recent ruling in The Law Society of British Columbia v. Gorman.

The B.C. law society learned Gorman had left the province but he returned in 2012 and again practised law without a licence, the same judge has now found.

Savage ordered authorities to “arrest Mr. Gorman and bring him promptly before this court at 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, B.C., and unless otherwise ordered, deliver him to the warden of the Surrey Pretrial Centre.”

Miller Thomson LLP partner and Law Times columnist Jeffrey Lem is the newest bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Lem, who works in real estate law, secured lending, and insolvency, replaces Janet Minor, who became LSUC treasurer after a June 26 vote.

Quebec law firms named in Cassel Brock & Blackwell LLP’s lawsuit against 150 firms and practitioners in a conflict of interest case have lost their appeal to dismiss the claim against them.

In 2012, Cassels Brock sued numerous lawyers for improperly advising General Motors of Canada Ltd. dealers in the midst of the company’s move to close several dealerships during its 2009 financial crisis.

Dealerships that had to close up shop sued GM for allegedly forcing them to sign wind-down agreements in breach of provincial franchise law and its fiduciary duty to them. They also accused Cassels Brock of negligence in failing to provide them with the appropriate advice in addition to having an undisclosed conflict of interest. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In a counterclaim, Cassels Brock sued 150 other law firms and lawyers it claimed were responsible for improperly advising the dealers.

The named law firms have since unsuccessfully tried to dismiss the case against them. More recently, the Quebec firms appealed a decision that rejected their bid to dismiss the counterclaim.
They argued the Ontario Superior Court lacks jurisdiction over the third-party actions. But in a ruling on June 27, the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal after finding it’s “fair to subject the third party appellants to the power of the courts of Ontario.”

The Law Society of Upper Canada has decided not to change the scheme for electing regional benchers.

The current bencher election system designates the candidate in each region who receives the highest number of votes as the regional bencher to ensure representation across Ontario at Convocation.

Last year, a working group proposed putting greater emphasis on the votes from all regions for all candidates. One suggestion was to have the regional scheme apply to elect the candidate with the most votes in that area only if a region doesn’t have an elected bencher according to the initial results.

But a report to Convocation in June noted there would be no changes to the current scheme for electing regional benchers. 

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

According to the poll, 65 per cent of respondents say the federal government should step up its efforts to increase diversity in judicial appointments.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay has been under fire over remarks he made about women not applying for federal judicial appointments. During a meeting with members of the Ontario Bar Association, he reportedly referred to motherhood and its role in keeping women from seeking judicial posts.     
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The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ordered a company owned by a Law Society of Upper Canada paralegal bencher to pay almost $13,000 in a discrimination case.

HRTO adjudicator Douglas Sanderson found POINTTS Advisory Ltd., a company owned by LSUC paralegal bencher Brian Lawrie, had terminated an employee partly due to her disability and had failed to accommodate her.

“The respondent refused to allow the applicant to return to work because of her disability, repeatedly breached its obligation to accommodate her and terminated her employment, in part, because of her disability,” wrote Sanderson in Schildt v. POINTTS Advisory Ltd. on June 25.

“I find that the respondent’s actions caused the [applicant] humiliation and were an affront to her dignity and self-respect. In my view, damages of $10,000 are appropriate compensation in the circumstances of this case.”

The tribunal accepted Lawrie’s evidence that he had planned on terminating the applicant even before she suffered an injury at work but still decided her disability was part of the decision to let her go.

While it removed Lawrie as an individual respondent, the tribunal found the circumstances indicated senior management — “Mr. Lawrie in particular” — lacked an appreciation of their obligations under the Human Rights Code. Sanderson also said the respondent would benefit from human rights training and a workplace human rights policy. As for a monetary remedy, it ordered the company to pay $10,000 for injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect and almost $2,885 for lost employment income.

Sanderson, however, dismissed aspects of the employee’s human rights complaint, including an allegation that the company fired her due to the financial implications of the costs of her fertility drugs on its benefits program. The tribunal found she had no basis to make those allegations.

Superior Court Justice Barry Matheson has died at the age of 74.

Matheson, who joined the Superior Court in 1998, died on June 16.

Born in Winnipeg, Matheson moved to St. Catharines, Ont., at a young age. He attended Osgoode Hall Law School before practising at Sullivan Mahoney in St. Catharines.

According to the St. Catharines Standard, Matheson died as a result of heart surgery complications.

Zijad Saskin, president of the Welland County Law Association, told the Standard about a planned retirement party for Matheson, who died just before his 75th birthday.

“He was a wonderful judge and a great person,” Saskin told the Standard.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay has announced the appointment of immigration and administrative lawyer David Thomas as chairman of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

An Osgoode Hall Law School graduate, Thomas already served as a part-time member of the tribunal. In its announcement, the Department of Justice said he “brings an understanding of employment law, human rights law, aboriginal issues, and experience in managing human and financial resources.”

Thomas’ appointment is effective in September.

MacKay also announced the appointment of Judy Mintz as a part-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Prior to her appointment, Mintz was executive director of Dundas Community Services. Her appointment is effective immediately.

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

The majority of respondents — 76 per cent— said they’re not willing to offer a placement to a law school graduate under the Law Society of Upper Canada’s fledgling law practice program.

The poll comes amid a push by those involved in the program to encourage lawyers to sign onto the placement portion of it. In an article in Law Times last week, Chris Bentley, executive director of the law practice program at Ryerson University, emphasized that the training “is not a course.”

Ryerson and the University of Ottawa are currently looking for lawyers who can offer a paid work placement for 2014-15 law practice program candidates. In the poll, 24 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to offer a placement.
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McCarthy Tétrault LLP says 29 of its lawyers ran to Toronto from Montreal as part of a team-building and fundraising exercise over Father’s Day weekend.

The lawyers, along with eight coaches and 15 volunteers, kicked off their 650-kilometre journey at the law firm’s Montreal office on June 13 and ran over the course of the next 75 hours before arriving in Toronto on June 16.

The run raised $58,000 in support of Pour 3 Points, a Montreal-based organization that assists students in underprivileged neighbourhoods.

“We are incredibly proud of our colleagues for undertaking such a colossal challenge in teamwork,” said Marc-André Blanchard, chairman and chief executive officer of McCarthys.

“Our runners — who were mostly inexperienced prior to their training — took up the challenge fired by a desire to accomplish a collective goal together and to support an important community initiative. They are an inspiration to our colleagues, our clients, and our communities.”

Each lawyer underwent “intensive” training in preparation for the run that included a 260-kilometre test relay.

Besides appointing Justice George Strathy as chief justice of Ontario on June 13, the federal government has filled a number of other judicial positions across the country.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s Alan Diner joins the Federal Court bench. He replaces justice J.A. Snider following her resignation last year.

Lawyer Henry Brown, who recently retired from Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, also joins the Federal Court.
Brown replaces Justice S.J. Harrington after he became a supernumerary judge in April.

Also headed to the Federal Court bench is Keith Boswell of Stewart McKelvey. On June 30, he’ll replace Justice J.A. O’Keefe after he became a supernumerary judge.

Other appointments included:
• Federal Court of Appeal Justice Robert Mainville to the Quebec Court of Appeal to replace Justice A.R. Hilton on July 1.

• Public Prosecution Service of Canada lawyer Larry Ackerl to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton, replacing Justice R.S. Brown following his appointment to the Alberta Court of Appeal.

• Felesky Flynn’s Blair Dixon to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary. He replaces justice R.G. Stevens following his death in May.

• Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Cindy Bourgeois to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, replacing Justice L.L. Oland on June 22 when she became a supernumerary judge.

• Nova Scotia Provincial Court Justice Jamie Campbell to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, replacing Bourgeois.

• Quebec Superior Court Justice Mark Schrager to the Quebec Court of Appeal, replacing new Supreme Court of Canada Justice Clément Gascon.

• Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Francois Emond to the Quebec Court of Appeal, replacing Justice J.J. Lévesque following his move to supernumerary status in February.

• Quebec Crown prosecutor Michel Fortin to the Quebec Superior Court, replacing Emond.

• Lawyer Donald Layh to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, replacing Justice J.L.G. Pritchard after she moved to supernumerary status.

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

Ahead of the June 12 provincial election, more respondents said they’d be voting for the Liberals than any other party.

About 37 per cent of respondents said they’d vote Liberal while 32 supported the Progressive Conservatives and 14 per cent selected the NDP.
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Bennett Jones LLP says it has opened a new office in Vancouver as part of its “ongoing commitment to clients.”

“We are excited to add a Vancouver office to our platform,” says Bennett Jones chairman and chief executive officer Hugh MacKinnon.

“British Columbia is a strategic growth market and the Vancouver office will build on our commitment to serve our clients where they do business.”

In Canada, Bennett Jones has offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton. It also has lawyers in the Middle East and Washington.

“This latest expansion reflects the growing importance of Vancouver as a major Canadian business and energy centre,” the firm said in a release last week.

The Ontario Bar Association is honouring a slew of lawyers this month who have excelled in their practice areas.

Dentons Canada LLP partner Archie Rabinowitz received the OBA’s award for excellence in trusts and estates law, Barriston LLP lawyer Thomas Dart took the award for excellence in family law, and Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s John Goodwin got the nod for excellence in pensions and benefits law.

Meanwhile, lawyer Duncan Glaholt got the award of excellence in construction and infrastructure law and François Larocque of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law received the OBA honour for international law.

The OBA is also honouring William White of the City of Waterloo for excellence in municipal law and WeirFoulds LLP’s Lisa Borsook for her achievements in real estate law. Others, like Peter Israel of Israel Foulon LLP, got the nod for mentorship while Laura Russell of Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP is receiving the Ron Ellis award for her achievements in workers compensation law.

The various OBA sections are handing out the awards at events throughout June.

University of Ottawa Faculty of Law Prof. Joanne St. Lewis has won her three-year libel case against former colleague Denis Rancourt after he labelled her a “house negro.”

An Ottawa civil jury awarded her $350,000 in damages based on the harm to her reputation stemming from Rancourt’s use of the pejorative term in a 2011 blog.

The post on Rancourt’s blog carried the title: “Did Professor Joanne St. Lewis act as Allan Rock’s house negro?” In it, Rancourt took exception to St. Lewis’ criticism of a 2008 student-commissioned report that found the University of Ottawa guilty of systemic racism. At the time, Rock was serving as school president.

“The thing that was so stunningly problematic for me is that I was thinking this man is a stranger to me,” says Lewis, a law professor at the same university where Rancourt taught physics until it fired him in 2009. “He’s got an axe to grind with the university and he attacks me in a scatter gun.”

Rancourt says he intends to appeal the decision and sticks by his use of the term “house negro” that landed him in court.

“Everything I did, I did consciously and was a choice of language and content and context,” says Rancourt, who defended himself at the trial before eventually boycotting the proceedings after failing to have Justice Michel Charbonneau recuse himself.

“The political correctness sensitivity component of this is not relevant to defamation law as it applies in jurisprudence. Defamation law is about whether or not there is a defence for the expression that you made.”

Rancourt maintains he used the term in the same way that prominent black intellectuals such as Malcolm X have used it in the past.   

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

When it comes to the recent provincial election campaign, poll participants wanted to see legal aid funding at theforefront of justice issues considered by the parties.

In an election that had little to say about justice, about 30 per cent of poll respondents said they’d like to see legal aid on the agenda while 23 per cent said they wanted to see discussions around technological improvements at courthouses and 13 per cent said the leaders should have been talking about low-cost alternative justice programs.

Another eight per cent of participants said they wanted to hear about enhanced judicial resources and six per cent emphasized court infrastructure.

But at a time of austerity and in an election focused on budgets and cutbacks, another 13 per cent of poll participants said there’s no money to address any of these needs.
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The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association has chosen Steven Rastin as its new president for the 2014-15 year.

Rastin, who practises at Rastin & Associates PC in Barrie and Midland, Ont., replaces Charles Gluckstein in the role. “I am keenly looking forward to serving all OTLA members in the coming year as president, and working with my colleagues to promote better access to justice for all Ontarians,” said Rastin.

Rastin also noted the challenges facing personal injury lawyers. “There are many significant challenges that lie ahead, particularly with respect to auto insurance in Ontario. OTLA will be working with the newly elected government and all MPPs to ensure fair treatment for injured accident victims.”

Some 100 members of the justice sector met on June 3 to discuss collaboration among different groups to address access to justice concerns.

The meeting was the first of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s action group on access to justice, a forum meant to foster teamwork across the legal sector to make justice more accessible.

Representatives from the courts, government, academia, the bar, paralegal associations, and access to justice organizations attended the inaugural meeting and shared examples of potential actions.

“Ontarians need to be able to access their justice system in a timely fashion in ways that they can understand and at a price they can afford,” said Thomas Conway, treasurer of the law society.

“Expanding the law society’s role in improving access to justice has been my primary focus for the last two years. To launch [the action group], and see not only the law society’s commitment but the commitment of so many others to making [it] a success, is a tremendous end to my term as treasurer,” he added.

“Collaboration is the only way we will be able to make substantial and lasting change.”

Nine months after the retirement of justice Morris Fish, Canada’s highest court will finally have a full bench.

The federal government announced last week it would appoint Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Clément Gascon to the Supreme Court of Canada. At 54, he’ll be the youngest judge on the Supreme Court when he assumes the position on June 9.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin welcomed the appointment in a statement.

“Justice Gascon is a distinguished jurist,” wrote McLachlin. “He brings extensive expertise in the commercial and civil law of Quebec, as well as many years of experience as a judge. I look forward to his contributions to the court.”

After receiving a civil law degree from McGill University, Gascon worked as a civil and commercial litigator with the now-defunct Heenan Blaikie LLP.

He joined the Quebec Superior Court in 2002 and then became a judge of the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2012.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP pension and benefits lawyer Randy Bauslaugh has been inducted into the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute Hall of Fame, the law firm announced.

The hall of fame recognizes members who have made “a lasting impact” on the institute.

“Mr. Bauslaugh has been involved in many of the leading pension and benefit cases during his 30-year career,” McCarthys said in a statement announcing the honour.

“He routinely leads negotiations relating to pension and benefit issues, and acts as a mediator and arbitrator in pension-related labour disputes.” 

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

In a rather lopsided result, 95 per cent of participants feel Canada needs new laws restricting police disclosure of non-conviction records. The poll follows arecent report by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association that found “a patchwork” of laws across Canada on what should and shouldn’t turn up in records checks. The situation has resulted in disclosure of dropped charges, acquittals, mental-health apprehensions, and even casual contacts by police to employers and schools that require a background check, according to the report.
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A Superior Court judge has found a Toronto lawyer orchestrated a mortgage fraud that bilked a senior citizen out of $75,000 and has ordered him to pay damages including a $30,000 punitive award.

David Molson acted for both the lender and borrower in a mortgage transaction. The borrower, Dr. Leslie Toth, has admitted to being a party to the fraud but has since died, according to the ruling in Himel v. Molson on May 23.

“Mr. Molson was the architect and prime beneficiary of the fraud,” wrote Justice David Corbett.

Molson, who has a practice restriction listed on the Law Society of Upper Canada’s web site, has pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and settled a mortgage fraud case with the Royal Bank of Canada for several million dollars, Corbett noted. He ordered Molson to pay $75,000 for the amount the lender lost along with the punitive damages and costs of $50,000.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has nominated assistant deputy attorney general Daniel Therrien as the next federal privacy commissioner.

A member of the Quebec bar since 1981, Therrien has held several senior federal legal roles throughout his career with his current position including the public safety, defence, and immigration portfolio. He’ll replace interim privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier, who has been in the role since December 2013. The nomination still requires approval of the House of Commons and the Senate.

“He is a well-qualified candidate who would bring significant expertise in law and privacy issues to the position,” said Harper.

Therrien’s nomination is a controversial one with critics pointing to his direct role in the government’s security policies as an impairment to his job as privacy commissioner.

Criminal charges that are eligible for legal aid certificates have gone down along with all criminal charges in Canada, according to Legal Aid Ontario.

“Criminal charges received in Ontario’s courts have decreased by 5.7 per cent over the past three years, and charges which were covered by LAO have decreased by 8.5 per cent,” LAO said in a recent analysis.

“Charges covered by certificates and duty counsel assists very closely follow the trends of the charges received in the Ontario Court of Justice. Total applications received have decreased by eight per cent compared to the same period last year.”

New refugee legislation has also decreased certificate applications by 50 to 60 per cent, according to LAO, but calls to its telephone service have increased as a result.

Since 2010, the number of assistance calls answered through LAO’s toll-free line has increased by 101 per cent, it noted in its update.

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

According to the poll, 75 per cent of respondents believe the Law Society of Upper Canada should find a way to report lawyers suspected of crimes to police.

The remaining participants felt there are too many legal barriers preventing the law society from reporting cases to police who have other ways of getting the information.

While critics feel the current system allows people to get away with crime, others say the law society can’t pass along the information it has gathered because while lawyers have the right to remain silent before the police, the same privilege doesn’t apply with law society investigations.   
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The County & District Law Presidents’ Association has announced Kenora, Ont., lawyer Cheryl Siran will be its next chairwoman.

Siran, called to the bar in 2006, is a litigator practising primarily in civil matters, construction liens, and family law. After joining Hook Seller & Lundin LLP in 2006, she became a partner in 2010.

“As a lawyer practising in a small, northern community, I will be particularly focused on the challenges facing lawyers in sole and small practice and particularly those in rural and remote communities,” said Siran.

“But I will also be seeking in my term to increase CDLPA’s presence and voice on a wide range of issues such as the future of legal aid, adequate judicial resources, and the future of legal education — all issues that cut across the entire province and impact lawyers everywhere. I’m excited to be taking over leadership of this great organization at this time.”

Siran succeeds outgoing chairwoman Janet Whitehead in the role. “She will make a great leader of our organization and continue to provide a strong voice in matters impacting the practising bar,” said Whitehead of Siran.

With few fully accredited Tamil interpreters in Ontario, Ryerson University has released a new English-Tamil legal glossary.

The glossary includes 700 concepts in English and Tamil and is available online for free through the web site of the department of languages, literatures, and cultures at Ryerson. “This online resource is the first step in ensuring that the Tamil community, as well as organizations and interpreters who work with the community, use standardized, commonly accepted terminology,” said Marco Fiola, chairman of the department.

In announcing the glossary, Ryerson noted the gaps in legal services for the fast-growing Tamil community. It pointed to a 2010 provincial government report that found there were only a few fully accredited court interpreters in certain languages, including Tamil. The glossary, then, will help interpreters better prepare themselves for their courtroom duties, according to Ryerson.

The Law Society of Upper Canada handed out its annual awards at a ceremony last week.

The recipients of the law society medal were Frank Bowman, Clare Lewis, Derry Millar, Sandra Stephenson, and William Trudell. The law society also awarded the Lincoln Alexander award to Nigel Gilby, the Laura Legge award to Susan Opler, and the law society distinguished paralegal award to Paula Stamp.

The ceremony took place last Wednesday at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.

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

According to the poll, 69 per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t take on Rob Ford as a client with the remaining participants saying they’d willingly represent the embattled Toronto mayor.

The poll follows a recent Law Times profile of Ford’s counsel, Dennis Morris. In the profile, colleagues noted Morris’ low-key approach despite having high-profile clients like Ford. In the criminal law bar, Morris has a reputation as an “exceptional negotiator” also known for his subtleties and his ability to keep things under the radar, according to Greg Lafontaine, who worked in an office next to Morris’ for several years.

“Dennis is a lawyer who is never really worried about capturing the limelight. It’s not as though he’s somebody who is involved with Mayor Ford because of a desire to get attention,” said Lafontaine.

Morris, of course, has had his hands full representing Ford, who took a temporary leave of absence recently following more video revelations of homophobic and sexist comments and alleged use of crack cocaine.   
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Law Times poll

Law Times reports lawyers need to improve their social media skills to properly represent their clients as litigation involving evidence from social media platforms surges. Have you used evidence from social media platforms in your practice?
Yes, I have used evidence from these social media platforms in my practice.
No, this is not something that impacts my practice at all.