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Monday, November 25, 2013

PRO BONO HELP FOR PHILIPPINES VICTIMS

Miller Thomson LLP is promising to offer pro bono immigration legal services to people affected by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

As Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced plans to expedite applications coming from the Philippines in the wake of the typhoon, the law firm said it would help ensure affected members of the Filipino community can take advantage of the federal government’s measures.

“Miller Thomson will be providing general immigration legal advice to members of the Filipino community whose lives have been devastated by the impact of the typhoon,” the firm said, adding it’s “proceeding on a pro bono basis as part of the firm’s commitment to provide free legal services in matters of great importance and public interest.”

At the same time, Stikeman Elliott LLP announced a pledge to match donations made by its employees.

INQUIRY COMMITTEE RESIGNS

The Canadian Judicial Council committee conducting the inquiry into the matters related to Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas has resigned after concluding it’s no longer “in a position to complete this inquiry.”

“In the normal course, by now the committee would have concluded its hearings, prepared its report, and forwarded it to the Canadian Judicial Council (Council) for consideration. As matters have transpired, more than two years have now gone by and the hearings have not been completed,” the committee said in its reasons last week.

“In light of recent events, it has become apparent that this committee as presently constituted will not be in a position to complete its inquiry and submit its report to the council for a very extended period of time. Even further delays and costs are unavoidable. In these circumstances, the committee has determined that it must consider whether the public interest would be better served by resigning to permit a new inquiry committee to be appointed.”

In a 10-page explanation signed by Alberta Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, Newfoundland and Labrador Chief Justice Derek Green, P.E.I. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jacqueline Matheson, Barry Adams, and Marie-Claude Landry, the committee lamented the various judicial reviews Douglas has pursued and how those proceedings have interrupted their inquiry.

“If this process is to work as Parliament intended, it is imperative that there be no ability to interrupt an inquiry with litigation in another court that spawns its own further litigation and takes the process ever further away from the object of the inquiry,” they wrote. “This is not in the public interest.”

SEVERANCE CALCULATOR APP LAUNCHED

A Toronto law firm is aiming to give dismissed employees a quick peak at their potential severance entitlement through a new iPhone application it’s billing as the first of its kind in Canada.

The Severance Calculator, from Toronto law firm Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, aims to help both employers and employees. Companies will be able to get a quick idea of how much they might have to pay a laid-off worker. Employees can use it to find out how much they might get as severance payment after answering a few questions such as age, position, and years worked.

The firm says the Severance Calculator is suitable for use across Canada.

“There’s no service like this,” said Lior Samfiru, a co-founding member of Samfiru Tumarkin.

Samfiru noted that in his practice, about 80 per cent of the employees he sees come to him with offers of insufficient severance packages.

“People end up accepting completely inadequate severance packages,” he said, adding the calculator should help clear up some of the misunderstandings about severance entitlements.

MCCARTHYS LAWYER NABS OBA FRANCHISE AWARD

McCarthy Tétrault LLP associate Adam Ship is the recipient of this year’s Ontario Bar Association Markus Cohen memorial award for excellence in franchise law.

The award is “in recognition of his outstanding written contribution to the development of franchise law in 2013,” the firm said, adding Ship won the award for the second consecutive year.

Ship, vice chairman of McCarthys’ national franchise and distribution group, practises complex commercial litigation and franchise distribution law.

POLL RESULTS

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

The majority of respondents said they don’t support a recent federal government move to double the victim fine surcharge and make it mandatory for all offenders. In total, 81 per cent of participants disagreed with the new law.

The poll follows a recent Law Times story that looked into how some Ontario judges are resisting the mandatory surcharge by, for example, giving offenders very long periods to pay.

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