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Monday, January 5, 2015

YET ONE MORE JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT

Following a string of Ontario judicial appointments in mid-December, the federal government made one more announcement on Dec. 19: the elevation of Justice Eugene Rossiter as chief justice of the Tax Court of Canada.

Rossiter, who had been associate chief justice of the Tax Court since 2008, replaces Justice Gerald Rip, who’s now a supernumerary judge.

A lawyer since 1978, Rossiter became a judge in 2006 after a career in private practice that included a stint as chairman of the partnership board at Stewart McKelvey.

FREE MASSAGES FOR STRESSED LITIGANTS

In a bid to ease the stress of representing yourself in court, the national self-represented litigants project has a unique solution: massage therapy at the courthouse.

On Jan. 9, 23, and 30, the project, which aims to raise awareness about the phenomenon of self-represented litigants, is helping bringing free massage therapy in co-ordination with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Canadian College of Health Science and Technology’s massage therapy program. Students from the program will offer short massage sessions on the fifth floor of the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor, Ont.

“This is a wonderful gift for people undergoing the immense stress of court,” said Marilyn Weller, manager of specialized services for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Windsor-Essex County branch.

KIMBERLY MURRAY TAKES NEW ROLE AT MAG

The Ministry of the Attorney General’s new aboriginal justice division is moving forward with the appointment of Kimberly Murray as its lead.

“I welcome Kimberly to our senior management team and I look forward to working together,” said Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur in announcing the appointment last month.

Murray, who starts in the new role on April 1, is the first assistant deputy attorney general of the aboriginal justice division. She’s currently executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and was previously head of Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.

The creation of the new division was among the recommendations by former Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci in his report on First Nations representation on Ontario juries.

SEVEN LAWYERS AMONG ORDER OF CANADA APPOINTEES

Seven lawyers were among a group of 95 Canadians appointed to the Order of Canada last month.

Gov.-Gen. David Johnston named the appointees on Dec. 26.

He named Donald Malcolm McRae of Ottawa and Dick Pound of Montreal companions of the Order of Canada, a promotion within the order.

Officers of the Order of Canada included Jean-Louis Baudouin, an internationally renowned legal scholar and senior partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Montreal recognized for his contributions to the advancement of civil law in Canada as a professor and judge for the Quebec Court of Appeal.

As well, Peter Milliken becomes an officer of the Order of Canada for his public service and commitment to parliamentary democracy as Canada’s longest-serving Speaker of the House of Commons. Milliken was a member of the House of Commons from 1988 until his retirement in 2011. He served as Speaker for 10 years.

Former Liberal minister of foreign affairs and defence Bill Graham becomes a member of the order. The announcement recognized the former lawyer and law professor’s many years of political service.

Also named a member of the order was retired senator and Vancouver lawyer Jacob “Jack” Austin. Another former senator, Michael Meighen, becomes an officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to public life as a lawyer, politician, and philanthropist. He’s now counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP in Toronto.

POLL RESULTS

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

According to the poll, respondents aren’t losing sleep over artificial intelligence usurping lawyers’ roles in legal work. Just 39 per cent of respondents felt it could have a significant impact on lawyers’ prospects. A further 61 per cent felt artificial intelligence is too far off and lawyers have to embrace innovation anyway.

The report follows recent Law Times stories about the emergence of artificial intelligence and the possibility it could perform many of the tasks of lawyers.

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