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Editorial: Careful, Groia

There is no instance of a nation having benefited from prolonged warfare. So sayeth Sun Tzu, the author of the 5th-Century-BC classic The Art of War

Joseph Groia’s well-documented fight against the Law Society of Upper Canada is an epic one that appears to be headed for a grand showdown in the Supreme Court of Canada, Law Times reports.

Groia appears undeterred in his battle against the Law Society’s decision to discipline him for unprofessional and uncivil conduct. It has been an expensive and exhausting journey, considering the behaviour in question transpired during a trial that started 16 years ago, defending former Bre-X Minerals geologist John Felderhof.

In the latest development, the Ontario Court of Appeal has dismissed Groia’s appeal against the LSUC.

Groia’s path as apparent protector of courtroom freedom has become huge news. The fact Groia was elected as a bencher to the Law Society only adds fuel to the fire.

But one might ask — at what cost is this matter proceeding, both financially and to the reputation of the profession as a whole?

In a very thorough ruling, Justice Eleanore A. Cronk of the Ontario Court of Appeal, said, “The requirement of professionalism for lawyers, both inside and outside a courtroom, including zealous advocacy accompanied by courtesy, civility and good faith dealings, secures the nobility of the profession in which lawyers in this province are privileged to practise. The Appeal Panel concluded that this requirement was breached in this case. This conclusion, in my opinion, was both reasonable and correct.”

Groia wages battle to defend the way trial lawyers defend their clients, without fear of reprisal. One must admire his dogged persistence. It’s a high-stakes endeavour.

The LSUC would do well to mind the power of the narrative, which, in this case, appears to have a scrappy underdog pitted against giants, over the greater good. However, Groia would do well to mind the words of Justice Cronk on professionalism and Sun Tzu’s warning on prolonged battle. War, at any cost?

  • The fact of the matter is that

    Nick Austin
    Groia is da real MVP
  • Be Careful Editorialising

    Charles Ball
    The author's background suggests logic steeped in media relations which might explain the advice. Our Provincial Government has been receiving this type of advice for the past 16 years or so to obvious results.

    There is an automatic right of appeal in this case and a significant divergence between the majority (of 2) and the dissent.

    This is an important legal issue and I hope the matter will be fully vetted at the Supreme Court level.
  • I am Being Careful Ms Giroday !

    Joseph Groia
    " Given the different standards of review and tests for incivility applied by the Appeal Panel and Divisional Court, this appeal engaged issues of significant importance to the legal profession and the public.In my view guidance from this court on the issues raised was both necessary and appropriate. " Justice Eleanor Cronk

    "Great weight must be given to Mr Groia's compliance with the directions of the courts and to the fact that his conduct did not affect trial fairness When that is done and when the circumstances of the Felderhof trial are looked at in their entirety , I conclude that Mr Groia did not engage in professional misconduct..." Justice David Brown in dissent

    " Where would the profession be if I had given up after the Hearing Panel concluded that trying to defend myself was an abuse of process ? " Joseph Groia

    "He who wins last ; wins." Earl Cherniak
  • Nuff Said...

    Andrei K
    Drops the mic, walks off the stage.

    Good luck Joseph! I think you're fighting a necessary battle.

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