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Monday, June 10, 2013

FASKENS OFF TO THE RACES
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP is off to the races.

The firm announced last week that its Ottawa office had entered into an agreement to sponsor the Mark Motors racing team in this year’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Series. The agreement includes having Faskens’ name on the team’s cars.

The team competed in the first races of the series on May 18 and 19 at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ont., and will be competing in races over the summer in Montreal, Bowmanville, and Trois-Rivières, Que. It will then wrap up the series in races on Sept. 6-8 at Calabogie Motorsports Park in Calabogie, Ont.

As part of the sponsorship, the firm will provide the team with a variety of legal services.
“Fasken Martineau is thrilled to partner with Mark Motors racing team,” said Stephen Whitehead, management lead partner at Faskens’ Ottawa office.

LAWYER APPEALS MISCONDUCT FINDING
A disbarred Ottawa lawyer found to have misappropriated more than $1 million from his deceased father’s estate is appealing the Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel decision that found him guilty of professional misconduct.

The hearing panel also found Leslie Vandor to have misapplied more than $40,000 from the trust accounts of clients of Lang Michener LLP, a firm the lawyer once worked with as an independent contractor.

When the firm’s managing partner at the time noticed the discrepancies, he went to the law society with a complaint about Vandor.

Vandor is appealing the decision on several grounds. Among other things, he argues the panel erred in fact and law by, for example, failing to consider the fact that the Lang Michener transfers complied with client signed directions and LSUC bylaw No. 9.

Vandor is  also seeking to substitute the penalty with an order declaring the suspension as of May 1, 2009, the appropriate remedy.

For more, see "Lawyer took $1M from dad's estate."

FEDS SEEK AUTHORITY TO DEMAND SAMPLES
The federal government is proposing an amendment to the Criminal Code to authorize demands for bodily samples from people prohibited from alcohol or drugs as a condition of probation orders or conditional sentences.

The proposed regulation would make it lawful to demand breath, urine, blood, hair, and saliva samples for the purpose of detecting alcohol or substances.

In 2006, the Supreme Court outlawed the forceful collection of bodily samples given the lack of authority under the Criminal Code. The act as it currently stands “limits the specific types of bodily samples that can be collected to those stipulated by regulation,” according to a statement on the impact of the proposed changes released by the federal government.

“As a result, the provisions of the act would be inoperative without complementary regulations, as police and probation officers would not be authorized to demand bodily samples from offenders, thus limiting the enforceability of conditions to abstain from the consumption of alcohol or drugs and depriving Crown prosecutors of reliable and compelling evidence at trial where a breach is charged.”

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

The numbers reveal mixed views on whether legal clinic mergers are the way to go after a Legal Aid Ontario report suggested clinics will be larger and fewer in number in the future.

According to the poll, 50 per cent of participants agreed that mergers would likely mean more efficiency. The other half opposed the proposal.

JUSTICE EDWARD DUCHARME DIES
Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Edward Ducharme has died at age 69.

“Justice Ducharme was a scholar in literature and in law, an educator, a counsellor of students, a practitioner, an author, a mentor, and a brilliant jurist,” wrote Law Society of Upper Canada Treasurer Thomas Conway on his blog.

Ducharme was going to receive an honorary degree from the law society later this month.
Prior to his appointment to the appeal court last year, Ducharme was a regional senior judge for the southwest region of the Superior Court. He also served on the education committee for Superior Court judges.

“Justice Ducharme had a deep insight into the legal education of lawyers,” wrote Conway. “He bridged the gap between academia and the professional training of lawyers. He was instrumental in changing the testing process of candidates aspiring to become lawyers in Ontario.”

Ducharme died after a battle with prostate cancer, according to reports. 

SCHOLARS HONOURED BY OSGOODE SOCIETY
The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History has honoured four young scholars for their knowledge of the country’s legal past.

The 2013 co-winners of the R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Canadian Legal History are Edward Cavanagh and Joseph Dunlop. Susan McKelvey and David Steeves received the Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History.

In addition, Dalhousie University professor Michael Cross received the John T. Saywell Prize for Canadian Constitutional Legal History for his book, A Biography of Robert Baldwin: The Morning-Star of Memory.

The winners received their awards at a ceremony during the Osgoode Society’s annual meeting on June 4 at Osgoode Hall.

ELECTRONIC DIVORCE FORMS PLANNED
Work could get a bit easier for divorce lawyers as the federal government announced plans to cut out paper forms for divorce registration.

The government is taking the forms online. Currently, lawyers have to complete the forms by hand and submit them in person.

“The process for the registration of divorce proceedings would be streamlined to eventually allow for the availability of an online capture in a departmentally approved format,” says a government impact analysis statement.

“As the appropriate technology is made available and implemented, it is expected that the court registrars will be able to submit the prescribed information electronically to the [central registry of divorce proceedings].”

According to the impact statement, the registry receives 75,000 to 80,000 new applications for registration of divorce proceedings each year.

“Providing electronic capacity to the divorce registration process will improve efficiency by reducing the number of paper forms to be printed, thereby contributing to sustainable development,” the statement says.

GG HONOURS PALLETT VALO LAWYER
Pallett Valo LLP lawyer Bonnie Yagar received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award last week.

The award honours Canadians who have made significant contributions to their community. “Bonnie’s commitment and dedication to her community has been a shining beacon amongst her peers,” said Anne Kennedy, managing partner at Pallett Valo.

Prior to the latest honour, Yagar’s volunteerism had already attracted recognition at different levels. She received the Gordon S. Shipp Memorial Award and was the citizen of the year in Mississauga, Ont., in 2008, the law firm said.

“We are incredibly proud of Bonnie and her contribution to our community and we are grateful to have someone of her character and standing at our firm,” said Kennedy.

EX-TEACHER CHALLENGES GOOD-CHARACTER FINDING
A former teacher who lost his job after a sexual exploitation conviction is appealing the Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel decision that declined to license him as a lawyer.

Last year, the law society hearing panel found law school graduate James Melnick was “not of good character” and therefore unable to practise law in Ontario. Melnick is now appealing the decision on the grounds that the panel denied him a fair hearing. He also claims the panel “ignored and/or mischaracterized the evidence before it.”

“The panel wrongly applied the legal test and changed the standard of proof required of Melnick,” his appeal notice reads. “The panel failed to provide adequate reasons for its findings.”

In August 2006, Melnick pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation and luring of a child using a computer. The child in question was his 14-year-old student. The court sentenced him to six months in jail.

For more, see "Ex-teacher who slept with student now seeks bar entry."

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