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Monday, July 13, 2009

LEGAL AID BOYCOTT

Criminal lawyers throughout the province continue to protest what they call an inadequate legal aid tariff, and lawyers from more cities have now added their support.

Criminal Lawyers’ Association president Frank Addario says criminal defence lawyers in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, which includes Guelph, have jumped on board.

Craig Parry, the association’s regional director for the area, said senior lawyers there have agreed not to take on any homicides or cases arising from Toronto’s Guns and Gangs Task Force.

“Our members never refuse to represent someone because of their income or family wealth,” said Parry in a statement. “But the legal aid program leaves working people and the middle class at a severe disadvantage when they get caught up in the legal system.

“I have a case right now where I can’t hire the experts I need to defend someone because legal aid is so squeezed for money. The Crown has two high-quality experts whose opinions I can’t challenge.

Experts cost a lot. Rich people can go to court with the lawyer of their choice and meet the other side evenly. For everyone else, it’s a mismatch.”

LCO DISABILITY PROJECT LAUNCHED

The Law Commission of Ontario has initiated a public consultation that aims to uncover how the law affects persons with disabilities.

The consultation is the start of a “major project” the LCO hopes will prompt a new approach to this area of law, specifically the creation of a new definition of “disability” in legal terms, said the commission in a release.

“Given the increased occurrence of disability associated with aging, almost everyone will, at some point in their lives, either experience disability or have a family member who does,” said Patricia Hughes, executive director of the LCO.

Hughes added that persons with disabilities deal with barriers in education and employment, and are more likely to live on low incomes, and to be on the receiving end of violent crime and domestic assault.

“This suggests a need to critically examine current legal approaches to disability issues and to develop a new framework of principles for this area of the law,” she said.

Responses to the consultation paper will be accepted until August 28.

OSGOODE SOCIETY ANNOUNCES WINNERS

The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History has unveiled a group of recent award recipients.

Mary Stokes, a doctoral student in legal history at Osgoode Hall Law School who is working on the history of municipal law in 19th century Ontario, will receive the R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Legal History.

The fellowship supports scholars conducting research in Canadian legal history.

Myles Leslie, a doctoral student at the University of Toronto, will claim the Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History for his article, “Reforming the Coroner: Death Investigation Manuals in Ontario 1863-1894,” published in Ontario History, 2008. The prize is awarded annually for a published work in Canadian legal history written by a student.

Janet Ajzenstat, professor emerita at McMaster University, is the first winner of the John T. Saywell Prize for Canadian Constitutional Legal History for her book, The Canadian Founding: John Locke and Parliament.

The Saywell Prize is given biannually to the best new book in Canadian legal history that makes an important contribution to an understanding of the constitution and/or federalism.

LAWYER DISBARRED

The Law Society of Upper Canada has revoked Robert Allan Horwood’s licence to practise.

The Mississauga lawyer was called to the bar in 1974.

The LSUC hearing panel found that Horwood had engaged in professional misconduct for failing to “substantively respond to communications from the law society,” and failing to “comply with his undertaking to the law society to reply promptly to all communications to the law society.”

MCISAAC MOVES

Ottawa lawyer Barbara McIsaac has left from McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Ottawa office for Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

McIsaac, who was the managing partner for McCarthy’s Ottawa office, focuses her practice on advising private sector clients and government bodies on trade and procurement law issues, and Charter and human rights issues, said BLG in announcing the move.

She also has been a pioneer in the area of privacy law.

“Privacy issues have never been more important in Canada,” said McIsaac. “For example, in the critically important area of e-health we know that we need to get our health records online to improve the efficiency of our health-care system but we must be careful to deal properly with privacy concerns.”

McIsaac also brings litigation prowess to BLG. She has made 10 appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada, serving as counsel in the case that led to the Supreme Court’s original decision that the Patent Act does not permit the patenting of life forms.

She also served as senior counsel to the Somalia inquiry and senior counsel for the Government of Canada for the Arar inquiry.

“I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues, many of whom I already know quite well,” she said. “I will help BLG clients wherever I can, and I’m also looking forward to helping the firm as a mentor where I can do that.”

ADVOCATES’ AWARDS WEIRFOULDS’ BUHLMAN

WeirFoulds LLP Partner John Buhlman has received The Advocates’ Society Award for Excellence in Teaching.

He is the second recipient of the award, which was first presented in 2005. It honours an instructor who has made outstanding contributions in the classroom and to the profession, and is presented only when a candidate stands out from the crowd.

Buhlman has taught advocacy skills at the society’s programs since 1989. He has been a member of its education committee for many years.

Buhlman specializes in environmental and commercial litigation, advising clients on regulatory compliance with environmental laws.

PBLA, DAVIS PARTNER

Pro Bono Law Alberta has announced a new legal partnership between The Alex Pathways to Housing Program and the Calgary office of Davis LLP.

Through the deal, Davis will offer legal support and services to the Pathways to Housing Project, and The Alex, which provides health-care services to at-risk, low-income, homeless, and immigrant Calgarians.

“Davis LLP is very pleased to be a partner in supporting The Alex Pathways to Housing Program,” said Robert Calvert, Calgary office managing partner of Davis LLP, in a release.

“The Alex is an inspirational community-based organization. Establishing new relationships between non-profits and private firms creates the opportunity to participate in and contribute actively toward building better communities together.

We hope others in the legal community, through Pro Bono Law Alberta or independently, are encouraged to participate in similar projects and programs.”

FMC ANNOUNCES NEW EDMONTON MP

Dennis Picco is the new managing partner of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP’s Edmonton office.

Picco has been with the firm for 20 years, and the firm said he “is recognized as one of Western Canada’s leading litigation practitioners in ADR, construction and infrastructure, insurance, and technology.”

PICCIOLA JOINS HEENAN BLAIKIE

Heenan Blaikie LLP has landed the services of mergers and acquisitions and financing lawyer Frank Picciola. He will work with the firm’s Montréal business law group.

Guy Tremblay, Heenan Blaikie’s national co-managing partner, said, “Frank has a practical and intuitive sense of the national and international business market.

He uses this knowledge and experience to provide trusted business and legal advice to his clients and we are pleased to bring him onto our team. He will be a great asset to our clients with business interests in Canada and around the world.”

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