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Monday, February 2, 2009

COSGROVE FACES JUDICIAL COUNCIL

Embattled Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Cosgrove will meet with the Canadian Judicial Council March 6 to respond to an inquiry committee’s report that found there are grounds to justify his removal from the bench.

The council will file a recommendation to the federal justice minister after hearing Cosgrove’s submission. Both Cosgrove’s lawyer Chris Paliare of Paliare Roland Barristers and independent counsel on the inquiry, Earl Cherniak of Lerners LLP, will address the council at the hearing.

The Ontario Court of Appeal in December 2003 overturned Cosgrove’s ruling in the 1997 R. v. Elliott murder trial, ordering a new trial, at which Julia Elliott pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received a seven-year sentence.

In April 2004, then-Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant requested a CJC inquiry into Cosgrove, alleging his conduct on the case hurt public trust in the administration of justice.

The hearing is set to take place at 9:30 a.m. at the InterContinental Toronto Centre.

PRIVACY FORUM

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian aimed to gain some powerful backing for her claim that technology can be used to protect privacy in a forum last week involving big names in the tech industry.

“In a world of increasingly savvy and inter-connected customers, an organization’s approach to privacy may offer precisely the competitive advantage needed to succeed,” said Cavoukian in a release.

“Privacy is essential to creating an environment that fosters trusting, long-term relationships with existing customers, while attracting opportunity and facilitating the development of new ones.”

The “Privacy By Design Challenge” was set to take place last Wednesday in Toronto. Leading executives from Intel, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Sun Microsystems, and Facebook were expected to speak at the forum.

Cavoukian coined the term “privacy by design” in the 1990s when she started her movement to get big tech companies on board to develop products that protect privacy, rather than diminishing it, according to the release.

STIKEMANS, OSGOODE HELP UN ON RIGHTS

Canadian firm Stikeman Elliott LLP is among a group of 15 law firms from across the globe that will take part in an effort led by the United Nations to find out whether countries’ corporate law norms led to higher human rights standards.

“This is extraordinarily important work,” said special representative of the UN secretary-general on business and human rights, Prof. John Ruggie, in a release. “The relationship between corporate law and human rights remains poorly understood.

The willingness of so many firms to provide their services pro bono in order to expand the common knowledge base indicates that corporate law firms worldwide appreciate that human rights are relevant to their clients’ needs.”

The group will look at the situation in 40 countries, which will allow for a mix of common law, civil law, and other legal traditions, according to the release. A set of recommendations to states and businesses will be issued at the end of the project, with an expert consultation set for the fall at Osgoode Hall Law School.

“Corporate law, like other policy domains that shape business practice, traditionally has been kept institutionally and conceptually separate from human rights concerns,” said Ruggie. “Yet recent developments suggest that regulators are beginning to link corporate governance with management of social, environmental, and ethical impacts, including human rights.”

LAWYER’S LICENCE REVOKED BY LSUC

The Law Society of Upper Canada has disbarred Brampton real estate lawyer Winston Gauntlett Mattis, and ordered him to pay the law society $10,000 in costs.

In a Jan. 20 hearing panel decision, Mattis was found, among other things, to have failed “to be on guard against becoming the tool or dupe of unscrupulous clients and third parties and by completely abdicating his professional responsibilities by failing to supervise his real estate practice in connection with the purchase, sale, and mortgage transactions involving 15 properties,” according to a summary issued by the LSUC.

SUPERIOR COURT JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS

Ontario Superior Court Justice Louise Gauthier is now regional senior judge of the court’s northeast region, swapping spots with Justice John Poupore.

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson also announced last week that former regional senior judge of the central west region Justice Bruce Durno has changed places with Justice Francine Van Melle.

Two new judges also were unveiled.

Justice Anne Mullins, formerly an associate with Augustine Bater Polowin LLP, was appointed to the Newmarket Superior Court bench.

Justice William Hourigan, a litigation partner with Fasken Martineau LLP, will reside at the Superior Court in Milton.

FIRM MOURNS FOUNDER

Pallett Valo LLP is mourning the loss of one of its founding partners, Sidney Valo, who passed away Dec. 24, 2008 after a battle with ALS.

“After being diagnosed with ALS in April 2005, Sid resolved to accept his condition as his “new normal” and do all he could to help others afflicted with ALS,” reads an announcement by the firm.

“Exhibiting the same drive and energy that distinguished Sid in his legal career, he joined the board of the ALS Society of Canada in 2006, and established the Valo Fund for ALS Research.”

The Valo Fund has thus far raised over $100,000, the firm said.

“We are privileged to have had Sid Valo as our partner and friend,” said the firm.

SANDLER CHAIRS LAW FOUNDATION

The Law Foundation of Ontario officially has a new chairman, with Mark Sandler taking the post Jan. 5.

The appellant and trial criminal litigator and partner in the law firm of Cooper & Sandler also acts as a Law Society of Upper Canada bencher.

He is an elected Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and was a part-time member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario before his appointment as chairman of the LFO.

JEWETT JOINS GOWLINGS

Former general counsel and corporate secretary of the Bank of Canada Mark Jewett has joined Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP’s financial services industry group.

“We are very pleased to have Mark join us. His extensive experience in the complex area of financial regulation and public policy adds depth and breadth to the services that we are able to provide to clients,” said the firm’s chairman and CEO, Scott Jolliffe, in a release.

AINLEY GETS M&A HONOUR

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP partner William Ainley has been named Best M&A Lawyer in Canada by World Finance Magazine.

“Among his peers, Bill is regarded as a thought leader and a creative and innovative practitioner who consistently demonstrates a commitment to the highest levels of excellence in his profession,” said Davies managing partner Bill O’Reilly in a release.

“He has played a critical role in some of the most significant mergers and acquisitions in Canada, which serves as an indication of his record of high achievement.”

RUSSELL NAMED CLIENT ALL-STAR

Toronto lawyer Robert Russell, a litigation partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, has risen to the top of the heap in terms of managing client relationships, according to a consulting group.

BTI Consulting Group recently announced that Russell has been named to the 2009 BTI Client Service All-Stars Team “for delivering a combination of outstanding legal skills, extraordinary attention to client needs, and noteworthy responsiveness to Fortune 1000 organizations,” according to a release.

Russell is the firm’s national leader of the competition and marketing law group.

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