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Monday, January 13, 2014

LAWYER APPOINTED AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL

The government has appointed Toronto lawyer Vivian Bercovici as Canada’s new ambassador to Israel.

Bercovici, who had earlier practised with Heenan Blaikie LLP’s Toronto business law group and more recently joined Dickinson Wright LLP, has an “excellent understanding” of Israeli issues, said Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

“Canada and Israel share a strong and multi-faceted relationship based on shared values, common interests, and strong political, economic, cultural, and social ties,” he added. “Having lived in Israel and written extensively on the region, Ms. Bercovici has an excellent understanding of the challenges facing the country and deep insight into the opportunities provided by the strong links between our two countries.

“The government of Canada congratulates Ms. Bercovici on this appointment, and wishes her well in building upon this special relationship.”

Bercovici has in the past served as senior policy adviser to the Ontario minister of finance and chief negotiator on various claims made by First Nations against Canada. In March 2013, she joined the board of directors of CBC/Radio-Canada for a five-year term.

FLIP YOUR WIG FOR JUSTICE

Are you angry over the lack of access to justice in Canada? If so, you should flip your wig for justice, says a new campaign launched by several legal organizations.

The awareness campaign and pledge-based fundraising effort launched last week is asking the public and the legal community to show their support for equal justice by donning a traditional judicial or “wacky” wig on March 6.

The campaign is urging organizations to match pledges raised by employees. The organizations behind the campaign include the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Community Legal Education Ontario, the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, the Ontario Justice Education Network, Pro Bono Law Ontario, and Pro Bono Students Canada. To participate, register at flipyourwigforjustice.ca.

NEW GLADUE COURT IN BRANTFORD

A Gladue court designed to handle the cases of aboriginal people charged in criminal matters will open in Brantford, Ont., on Jan. 17.

“Among other special features, Gladue courts take the findings of Gladue reports into consideration. These are reports on offenders’ backgrounds, including circumstances unique to this community such as residential school experiences,” according to Legal Aid Ontario, which says it played “an instrumental role” in the court’s establishment.

“In addition, Gladue courts propose sentences using a restorative justice approach that aligns with aboriginal culture and traditions.”

There are five other Gladue courts in Ontario. LAO says it will provide clients with services once the Brantford court begins hearing cases this month.

NEW PARTNERS AT STIKEMAN ELLIOTT

Stikeman Elliott LLP is welcoming new partners at three of its offices.

Michael Kilby, who was an associate with the firm, is now a partner at the Toronto office. Kilby, who also did his articles at Stikeman Elliott, practises in the area of Canadian competition and foreign investment law.

In Montreal, lawyer Vanessa Coiteux is the newest partner while securities and corporate finance lawyer Brad Squibb also joined the partnership in Calgary.  

POLL RESULTS

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

According to the poll, 45 per cent of participants say 2014 is the year the legal profession should make a move on alternative business structures. Another 35 per cent of participants disagreed while the rest said it might be time to act on the issue but would prefer to see more study on it first.

The poll follows a recent Canadian Bar Association report that suggested the jury is still out on whether alternative business structures would improve access to justice.

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