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Monday, September 3, 2012

GUY PRATTE BOWS OUT

Guy Pratte, the independent counsel at the proceedings related to Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas, has resigned, a move that leaves the Canadian Judicial Council scrambling to find a replacement for him.

Norman Sabourin, executive director and senior general counsel at the council, wouldn’t comment on Pratte’s reasons for resigning and would say only that the hunt is on for an immediate replacement.

“We hope that within a few days we can announce an appointment,” Sabourin told Legal Feeds.

Toronto lawyer and legal commentator James Morton says the proceedings have faced a lot of difficulties.

“The details involving his resignation don’t appear to have been made clear yet.  But it appears as though he was not at all content with the way things were proceeding.”

A council committee is looking into the conduct of Douglas, whose husband posted sexually explicit photos of her online in 2003 when the couple were family lawyers at a Winnipeg firm.

POLL RESULTS

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

Fifty per cent of respondents said they haven’t thought about succession planning for their law practice because they don’t plan to retire anyway.

The results follow an Aug. 20 Law Times article that indicated that many lawyers hadn’t thought much about succession planning.

By comparison, 31 per cent of respondents said they had thought about succession planning for their practice while almost 19 per cent said retirement was too far in the future to think about the issue.

CBA FEE CHANGES

The Canadian Bar Association has changed its fee structure.

The base membership rate will now be a flat fee of $540 a year with a 60-per-cent discount applied during the first three years of call. The fee will be increase annually based on the consumer price index and discounts will be available to associate and retired members. Law students will pay $20.

The CBA hopes the new fee will help small firms and sole practitioners who said they found it difficult to justify CBA membership costs. It’s also hoping to encourage member participation.

Previously, the CBA based its fee structure on year of call.

“The current fee structure, based on year of call with incremental increases up until five years in practice, was no longer resonating with members, and actually ranked second last by members in a survey undertaken by the CBA in 2011,” the CBA said in a statement.

“The last time the CBA reviewed membership fees was in 1994.”

IMAX MOTION DISMISSED

Superior Court Justice Katherine van Rensburg has dismissed a motion for summary judgment in relation to the plaintiffs’ statutory claims for secondary-market misrepresentation in the class

action case of Silver v. Imax.

“No public interest would be served by permitting a cause of action to be defeated by delays inherent in the litigation process,” wrote van Rensburg in a decision that contrasts with other rulings that went against plaintiffs in similar circumstances where lengthy proceedings had delayed matters.

The Imax litigation stemmed from allegations the company made misrepresentations that led to a precipitous decline in its share price a few years ago. The U.S. action began in 2007. Shortly after, Dimitri Lascaris of Siskinds LLP in London, Ont., filed a parallel case in Ontario.

Last month, the court denied certification to plaintiffs in a secondary-markets securities class action involving CIBC and its subprime mortgage exposure even though Justice George Strathy indicated he saw merit in the case.

On July 3, Strathy ruled in Green v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce that the plaintiffs had failed to obtain the required leave to proceed with the action within the mandated three-year period.

The court also rejected the plaintiffs’ request to certify common law claims for negligent misrepresentation. However, Strathy indicated that had he found that the limitation period hadn’t expired, he would have granted leave and certified the action as a class proceeding.

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