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Monday, June 12, 2017

HRTO TELLS LSUC TO DISCLOSE RECORDS

The Law Society of Upper Canada must produce up to 10 documents and/or video footage to a black member of the society who alleges he was discriminated against by a security guard when he attempted to enter the LSUC building last July, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled.

In an interim decision in Pieters v. Law Society of Upper Canada, Michael Gottheil, executive chairman of the HRTO, agreed with the appellant, Toronto lawyer Selwyn Pieters, that a variety of documentation should be produced to him by Ontario’s Law Society pertaining to his apprehension by a security guard when Pieters entered the Law Society building that day, the seizing of his membership card and Pieters’ subsequent experience in the Law Society building.

In emailed comments, Pieters indicated that he was pleased with the interim decision.

“The orders simply reflect that in cases of personal and systemic anti-black racism, the request for similar fact and other evidence in the possession of the respondents are appropriate given the obstacles inherent in proving racial discrimination,” Pieters said.

In a written statement to Legal Feeds, Law Society CEO Robert Lapper said, “The Law Society does not comment upon matters which are before the Courts or administrative tribunals, as in this case. That said, the Law Society does not believe that there was any conscious or unconscious bias or discrimination by any employee of the Law Society, as suggested by the applicant.”

The hearing in the case is set to begin on July 20 in Toronto, with continuation on July 21.

UN RECOGNIZES EQUALITY EFFECT

An organization led by a Toronto lawyer has received special recognition from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Dr. Fiona Sampson, CEO of the equality effect, is a lawyer and PhD with expertise in human rights law and women’s equality law, whose experience has guided the development of the organization. The equality effect is a Canadian non-governmental organization based in Toronto. The UN recognition for best practices relates to the 160 Girls project, which works to achieve social justice for oppressed women and girls in Africa through use of the rule of law.

SWARTZ WINS OBA AWARD

Jay Swartz has been awarded the Ontario Bar Association’s 2017 Murray Klein Award for Excellence in Insolvency Law.

Swartz, of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, was honoured June 5 at a reception in Toronto.

LAW TIMES POLL

A Law Times columnist says artificial intelligence is expected to have a profound impact on society, and it requires immediate discussion about its use. We asked readers if they expect AI to be used in their practices in the next five years.

Forty-five per cent said yes, technological innovation is moving faster than ever before, while 55 per cent said no, they can’t see it factoring into their work that quickly.

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