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Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday, November 6, 2017
Selwyn Pieters has settled a dispute with the Law Society of Upper Canada after submitting a complaint.


The Law Society of Upper Canada has settled a dispute with a black lawyer who alleged a security guard racially profiled him.

Selwyn Pieters submitted a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario last year after claiming he was stereotyped by a guard working at the door to the law society. The hearing into the matter was set to begin Oct. 31, but Pieters and the law society reached a settlement the night before.

“The parties have decided that it would be in everyone’s interest to resolve this dispute amicably,” the law society and Pieters said in a joint statement.

In his complaint, Pieters had claimed that a security guard had stopped him as he tried to enter the law society in July 2016 wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

When Pieters presented his identification card, which was expired, he claimed the security guard grabbed it and denied him access. Pieters then went across the hall to obtain a renewed card in order to enter.The lawyer claimed that there were a number of white members who entered immediately before him, facing no scrutiny, and that he was treated differently because of race. 

The law society had denied the allegations.

Pieters sought $75,000 in damages and requested the tribunal order the law society to provide further anti-black racism training to its staff. The lawyer says he expects the LSUC’s security staff will now treat members and the public with dignity and respect when they enter the building.



The provincial government has unveiled a new bail policy for Ontario’s Crown attorneys in the hopes of making the process fairer and more efficient.

The new directive will come into effect on Nov. 14 and is part of a larger initiative the province launched to cut back on court delays. The issue has gained increased urgency since the Supreme Court of Canada imposed strict new deadlines on the length of criminal cases in its 2016 decision in R. v. Jordan.

The new policy instructs Crowns to consider the least restrictive bail conditions that meet any concerns about releasing the accused and to only seek a surety if every lesser form of release has been considered.  


The provincial government has appointed two new judges to the Ontario Court of Justice.

David Berg and Allan Brown will join the court on Nov. 8 and will both preside in Ottawa.

The Minister of Justice also appointed Ontario Court Justice Marvin Kurz to serve on the Superior Court in Milton, Ont.


A recent Law Times column says the Canadian Border Services Agency has the authority to look at anything lawyers do on their electronic devices at the U.S.-Canada border.

Readers were asked if they are concerned about this.

Roughly 84 per cent said yes, they have concerns their privacy or the privacy of their clients could be violated.

The remaining 16 per cent said no, this is not a big concern for them.         

Editor's Note: Correction made Nov. 16, 2017 to indicate judges were appointed by the federal Minister of Justice.

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