Lawyer's Professional Indemnity Company (LawPro) financial report 2013
Links to Provicial Law Society disciplinary proceedings and decisions that identify misbehaviour on the part of lawyers
Each year, Law Times’ ‘Newsmakers’ series looks at the stories that have dominated our pages over the past 52 weeks.
The Law Society of Ontario waited for 17 months before warning the profession to exercise caution in advising clients about syndicated mortgage investments in which a lawyer had previously been involved — a delay that is deeply problematic for many investors in scandal-ridden Fortress Real Development Inc.’s syndicated mortgages, says a Toronto lawyer.
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in a 6-3 decision that Toronto lawyer Joe Groia was not guilty of committing professional misconduct. The ruling establishes an incivility test for when courtroom conduct crosses the line.
Associate Chief Justice Lawrence O'Neil's conclusions in a custody case last year were based on "no evidence." "I am at a complete loss to understand the judge's reasoning on this issue," Justice David Farrar said Tuesday of the Canada-wide arrest warrant. The sharp rebuke of O'Neil's judgment comes more than a year after the Court of Appeal condemned him for creating a "judge-made vortex of uncertainty and delay" in an unrelated adoption case.
In its decision, the Court of Appeal slammed Georgiana Masgras for getting in the way of her client’s family and his doctors, and potentially ruining an opportunity to donate his organs
Legal system needs efficiency, more justice, says prominent Vancouver lawyer, “When I started practising law 55 years ago, the length of trials was infinitely shorter than it is today,” he said. “Civil trials are taking too long, and so are criminal cases. Months and years can go by before a case really gets going in the court system. This is absolutely wrong. What kind of a system is a justice system that has a court but doesn’t allow people to use it?”
Lawyers may be the next victims of automation, and the impact on the macroeconomy could be serious. "Everything from contract drafting to legal research appears prone to automation."
Ontario judge rebuked for ending day early as delays pile up The criticism of Ontario Court Justice Rick Libman – chair of the court’s rules committee – comes in a published decision by Justice Michael Code of the Ontario Superior Court
It would be reasonable to assume that the man speaking in numerous advertisements in the last decade is a lawyer and senior partner at the personal injury firm founded in 1959 by Robert Preszler. Perhaps even Preszler himself.
Former deputy judge guilty of theft. The Law Society of Upper Canada suspended Houlahan’s licence to practise law following a hearing last Friday, but the suspension isn’t scheduled to take effect until Jan. 27. The law society had been seeking to suspend the licence after learning that Houlahan was criminally charged more than two years ago but never reported it to the law society.
the Canadian Bar Association published a report as part of its ongoing “Legal Futures Initiative” outlining a tempest of social, economic and technological forces shaking up the profession, from do-it-yourself clients to software that performs tasks previously done by lawyers poring over books. South of the border, where many a hotshot Canadian law graduate once found work, law schools are laying off faculty and slashing enrolment—in some cases, by more than half—as young American lawyers struggle to find jobs. Earlier this year, the annual fee and compensation surveys published by Canadian Lawyer magazine confirmed the growing fear that the profession has never truly recovered from the economic downturn of 2008. For the third straight year, median income of a first-year associate actually declined, hitting $66,000, or 13 per cent below the level in 2010. Signs were equally worrisome at the cigar-and-Courvoisier end of the field. Fewer than four in 10 partners surveyed were pulling down more than $250,000 per year, compared to nearly six in 10 in recession-ravaged 2009, while the super-well-off—those pulling down $450,000 or more—were also shrinking in number. They constituted just 12 per cent of partners in 2012, compared to 22.3 per cent in 2009. These numbers are unlikely to elicit much public sympathy:
The failure to provide a corrective instruction was an error in law by Superior Court Justice James Ramsay and rendered the trial unfair, The Court of Appeal ruling was issued the same day the Ontario Divisional Court upheld a suspension and costs order against Joe Groia, for incivility in his successful defence of former Bre-X executive John Felderhof on insider trading charges. The Divisional Court upheld a one-month suspension and $200,000 costs order against Groia, ordered by a Law Society of Upper Canada appeals tribunal. Arguments by the law society that a court’s comments about a lawyer’s conduct are proof of misconduct, were rejected by the Divisional Court. However, it said comments or findings may be admitted as evidence at a disciplinary hearing.
A prominent Toronto lawyer who pursued a frivolous action on behalf of a client was found personally liable Tuesday for the legal costs incurred, a decision he said could deter lawyers from taking on tough cases.
The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has recommended a judge's removal 5 times in 45 years, yet no government has ever followed through and actually fired anybody. Ever. For anything. That’s your scandal right there, Canada. Fear of the courtroom experience prevents so many from reporting sexual assault, the CJC's decision is a huge victory for women and all complainants. Yet still thornier problems await, especially our culture of deference that tolerates bias, abuse or incompetence in the name of judicial independence. The judge cited in my opening was enabled by a system that everyone felt powerless to change. Mainly, everyone just tried to keep their heads down and stay out of the way. Nobody talked about the effect of this man's wanton cruelty on the lives of citizens who came before him, hoping for justice. Because we were powerless, it was all treated with a kind of gallows humour. But it's the unsuspecting public I think of most, when I look back on it now.
"We are advised that although specifically retained to represent Mr. Hall on the cross appeal, you did not attend. You advised that your colleague, Mr. Hunt would be attending. When the cross appeal came forward in Court. Mr. Hunt advised the Court that he had no position on the cross appeal. As a result, no submissions were made to the Court of Appeal on Mr. Hall's behalf,"
The Ontario Court of Appeal in Spence v BMO Trust overturned a lower court's decision to set aside the will of the late Mr. Eric Spence. The lower court's unprecedented decision to set aside Mr. Spence's will is about as poorly reasoned a legal decision as one is likely to encounter. Its thin reasoning is symptomatic of an emerging convention whereby we seem increasingly willing to suspend reason (and sometimes even law) to reflexively embrace anything couched as a defence of equality.
She said she had already paid thousands in legal fees when the case finally went to trial in 2007. As it advanced, her Vancouver lawyer Jonas Dubas said he wouldn't continue unless she allowed him to secure a $100,000 mortgage against her property, at 18 per cent interest per year. The Law Society of B.C., the governing body for the province's legal profession, would not comment on the case, but said that in general, what Dubas did is not against the rules.
Justice Ann Alder's creative sentence allowed a drunk driver to save his job by serving his jail time on weekends has had her decision overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found that Alder’s sentence circumvented the rules.
Criminal Lawyers Association study confirms exodus of women from criminal law practice. Many women also reported a lack of respect and being treated differently than male lawyers by court officers, police, crown attorneys and judges.
It’s not just a question of who the heck is The Law Society of Upper Canada to take umbrage at the way Groia does business if the trial judge didn’t. The second big value at stake is the public’s right to zealous advocacy by lawyers with the full right to freedom of expression,This is theoretical only until you, the citizen, need a lawyer. But how can defence lawyers be the zealous advocates they’re supposed to be if, as with Groia, years after they have defended a client and without a complainant, the law society can swan in, with its delicate sensibilities, and say, with the ill-earned wisdom of hindsight, “Whoa, fellow. You crossed the line there” and subject them to professional discipline?
The new monarchy: Taxpayers have been dishing out millions of dollars to cover the legal fees of federal judges under investigation who are fighting the disciplinary process.
In this property dispute “The fact that the judge was highly critical of the expert is not that unusual; what’s unusual is that they’re holding the lawyer accountable,” says Toronto personal injury lawyer Darcy Merkur of Thomson Rogers.
Lawyer William Watson assured them they would win the case and the court award would cover his bill.
Per Mr. Justice Abrams: Mr. Telfer, visited with him [the Plaintiff Mr. Kerr] at his home and gave him advice about what he could do to resolve the situation. In the circumstances, Mr. Kerr believed that Mr. Telfer was acting as his solicitor. Accordingly, Mr. Kerr contends that this conduct constitutes bad faith. Notably, in the material before the Court, Mr. Kerr’s contention regarding Mr. Telfer’s attendance at his home, in the circumstances described, stands alone, uncontested.
The Court of Appeal decided two cases dealing with the issue of apprehension of bias.
The public’s perception of a judge’s impartiality must always be maintained for the administration of justice, even if there is no evidence of a bias or conflict of interest, according to a recent ruling by Ontario’s top court.
Lawyer Richard Chojnacki swindled clients while law society case dragged. The CBC News has learned the law society was first alerted to him in 2004. Guilty of fraud in 2012, the delay may have cost his clients millions of dollars, critics charge.
“I think the prestige of law and novelty wear off. She’s watching with interest as two other Toronto women lawyers establish a children’s clothing company, Matooka,
In some cases, the law, properly approached, is clear and all competent judges will come to the same conclusion. However, in many cases there is room for discretion and a judge's background and worldview will make a significant difference in the result.
Judging the judges: Canada's more than 2,000 federal and provincial judges are coming under harsher public scrutiny
She has won a few rounds and has learned the hard way that in Ontario's legal ring, even when you win you lose. Judi Simms is president of the Paralegal Society of Canada, and she sees the pioneering North Bay woman as something of a hero. "She was guest speaker at our conference a couple of months ago." "She is knowledgeable and well prepared."
The society also confirmed that a member, who has not been named, has filed a complaint against Matkin, who is also a lawyer and member of the society, alleging that his conduct was unbecoming that of a lawyer.
THIS COURT ORDERS THAT: - Counsel John Parr Telfer be removed as solicitor of record for the plaintiff Chromascan Inc;
This award winning series of 10 reports details that the public is at risk.
Would you walk onto a football field during a professional game and demand to be allowed to play? To slug it out against tough professionals equipped in ways you're not? Like playbooks. Helmets. Jock-straps. It wouldn't be unlike challenging the legal system, and wading into it without a lawyer.