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Monday, March 4, 2013

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K-W COURTHOUSE OPENS THIS WEEK[/span]

Court services in Kitchener, Ont., will begin relocating as of this week with the completion of the area’s new consolidated courthouse.

“This new, modern, accessible facility brings together all local court services in Waterloo Region under one roof,” said Attorney General John Gerretsen.

“The new courthouse will increase access to justice locally and be a one-stop shop for those who rely on its services.”

The new facility will bring together Superior Court services on Weber Street East with Ontario Court of Justice matters in both Kitchener and Cambridge, Ont., under one roof at 85 Frederick St. in the city’s downtown. Construction began in 2010. The province built the 30-courtroom facility to the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design silver standard. The facility features a barrier-free design as well as video conferencing, close-circuit television, audio amplification systems, and equipment for simultaneous interpretation and evidence presentation.

Superior Court matters will start moving to the new facility on March 4. Ontario Court family matters in Kitchener will follow on March 18 with criminal cases and services moving as of April 2. On April 15, Ontario Court services and Small Claims Court matters in Cambridge will begin relocating.

“The new Waterloo Region courthouse has great significance for not only the justice community but local businesses, community agencies, and residents,” said John Milloy, MPP for Kitchener Centre.

“It will have a major impact on the revitalization of downtown Kitchener.”

The provincial government is touting the on-time and on-budget completion of the new courthouse. According to the Record newspaper, the project will cost $766 million over 30 years, including maintenance. As for the old Superior Court building, the Region of Waterloo is planning to renovate it to house its staff, the Record reported.

ADVOCATES’ SOCIETY MEDAL AWARDED

The Advocates’ Society has honoured former associate chief justice of Ontario Dennis O’Connor with The Advocates’ Society Medal.

The medal, which recognizes significant contributions to the legal profession, is “the highest expression of esteem that the society can convey to one of its members,” said Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, the firm O’Connor recently joined as counsel, in a press release.

“We know Dennis has had an extraordinary career to date, and it is wonderful to see the profession celebrate that,” said Sean Weir, BLG’s national managing partner.

This year’s Advocates’ Society medal dinner took place Feb. 21. O’Connor joined the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 1998. He also served as associate chief justice until 2012.

CBA OFFERS TAKE ON CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

The Canadian Bar Association is offering its views on the Conflict of Interest Act.

Last week, the CBA released its submission as part of Parliament’s review of the legislation.

In its submission to Parliament, the CBA recommends expanding the list of those who must report to the ethics commissioner. They include public officials who aren’t currently under the oversight of the ethics commissioner, such as the governor of Bank of Canada.

“The CBA would like the government to strike a balance on accountability that would protect the public trust but not make the rules so stringent that good people are prevented from coming forward to serve their country,” said Guy Giorno, executive member of the CBA’s administrative law section and chairman of its lobbying and ethics committee.

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