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Monday, September, 14, 2009

STREET-RACING LAW QUESTIONED

The province says it will appeal a judge’s ruling that deemed its street-racing law unconstitutional.

“Our position is that the street-racing provisions are constitutional and that they are an important public safety initiative,” Ministry of the Attorney General spokesman Brendan Crawley told Canada.com, adding the Crown will appeal the decision at the Ontario Court of Justice.

“In the interim, people should understand that the street-racing provisions are still in effect, and police can still lay charges.”

The law sets a minimum fine for street racing of $2,000 and a top fine of $10,000.

Napanee Justice G.J. Griffin put the law in question last week, ruling it wrongly makes way for individuals to face jail time even if they’re not deemed morally responsible for the crime.

NEW TOP JUDGE AT FEDERAL APPEALS

Justice Pierre Blais has been named the Federal Court of Appeal’s new chief justice following the July retirement of former chief justice John Richard.

Blais, a former justice minister and attorney general in Brian Mulroney’s cabinet, has been on the appeal court since February 2008.

Blais practised in Quebec City at the firm Morin Lemieux Blais until 1984, when he moved into politics.

OJEN AWARD ANNOUNCED

The Ontario Justice Education Network has named a Brampton high school law teacher the recipient of its annual Chief Justices’ Award.

Jo Thornton, a department head at Mayfield Secondary School, will receive the honour Monday during this year’s Opening of the Courts festivities.

The award goes to an Ontarian who has made an important contribution by “promoting public understanding, education, and dialogue in support of a responsive and inclusive justice system,” the OJEN said in announcing the award.

“As a result of Jo’s efforts, the youth she is involved with are often much better informed and prepared for their first court experience than they would otherwise be,” the OJEN added.

“These young people are then in a better position to meaningfully participate in the court process and to understand the role of each of the players in the system.”

CARNWATH NAMED OSC COMMISSIONER

Former senior judge of the central-west region, James Carnwath, has been named a commissioner of the Ontario Securities Commission.

Carnwath served as both a Divisional Court and Superior Court judge and retired after 29 years on the bench. His other contributions include a term as chairman of the education committee of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, and he also helped administer seminars for newly appointed federal judges.

He was called to the bar in 1962 and received his law degree from the University of Toronto.

Also appointed as OSC commissioner was professional accountant Sinan Akdeniz as well as former Bell Canada executive Wes Scott.

“I welcome the addition of Messrs. Carnwath, Akdeniz, and Scott as commissioners and board members,” said OSC chairman David Wilson in announcing the appointments.

“These individuals bring the breadth of knowledge and experience necessary to discharge the adjudicative as well as regulatory and operational oversight activities for the OSC.”

ADVOCATES’ SOCIETY UNVEILS EXECUTIVE

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP partner Sandra Forbes will lead the Advocates’ Society as president for 2009-2010.

The 3,800-member professional association for advocates recently unveiled its entire executive committee for the upcoming term.

Marie Henein, of Henein & Associates in Toronto will serve as first vice-president; Mark Lerner of Lerners LLP in London will act as second vice-president; Peter Griffin of Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP in Toronto will take on the role of treasurer; and Alan Mark of Ogilvy Renault LLP in Toronto is the society’s new secretary.

UPCOMING CLE AT LSUC

The Law Society of Upper Canada is targeting a pair of high-profile issues in upcoming continuing legal education programs.

A Sept. 29 audio presentation, titled The H1N1 Flu Virus (Human Swine Influenza) and the Law, will give lawyers and other professionals guidance on the many legal issues surrounding the illness, the LSUC said in a release.

As well, a Sept. 24 program, Counselling Small and Medium-Sized Business: How to Survive in Difficult Economic Times, targets issues surrounding tight credit markets and reduced sales results.

More information is available on the LSUC’s web site at http://ecom.lsuc.on.ca/cle.

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