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Monday, October 12, 2015

TWO NEW JUDGES NAMED

The provincial government has appointed two lawyers as judges of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Both of the new judges will preside in Newmarket, Ont. The first is Nyron Dwyer, a lawyer called to the Ontario bar in 1988 who has practised criminal defence in Toronto over the past two decades.

Also joining the Ontario Court bench is Amit Ghosh, a lawyer called to the bar in 2002 who has spent the majority of his legal career as a Crown attorney at both the federal and provincial levels. Last year, he became counsel to the director of Crown operations for the central east region.

Both appointments are effective Oct. 14.

It has, in fact, been a busy time for appointments by the Ontario government. This month, the province nominated Bruce Krushelnicki to serve as the new executive chairman of the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario. The appointment is subject to review by the standing committee on government agencies. Also in the environmental sphere, the province tapped well-known environmental lawyer Dianne Saxe to serve as Ontario’s environmental commissioner. Her appointment takes effect on Dec. 1.

LICENCE APPEAL SWITCH MOVES FORWARD

In other Ontario government news, the province has announced a few details about the transfer of the auto insurance dispute resolution system to the Licence Appeal Tribunal.

According to a recent update, recruitment for new appointees to the tribunal is underway with the first appointments expected early next year. The government has also set up an advisory committee to advise on the design of the new system. The committee includes several members of the legal community: Osgoode Hall Law School dean Lorne Sossin, Eric Grossman of Zarek Taylor Grossman LLP, Julie Matthews of Community Legal Education Ontario, and Lee Samis of Samis & Co. Also on the committee is Ronald Hikel of Hampshire Consulting.

The province has set up an e-mail list for people to receive updates on the changes as the new system prepares to accept applications on April 1. Those interested can send their information to DRStransformation@ontario.ca.

POLL RESULTS

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

According to the poll, many respondents are welcoming a recent Law Society of Upper Canada working group report that recommended abandoning the idea of a majority ownership stake for non-lawyers in law firms. In fact, 56 per cent of participants said the law society should abandon the idea of alternative business structures altogether.

Another 23 per cent of respondents felt the law society should continue to consider the option of a minority stake for non-lawyers while almost 21 per cent felt it should keep full ownership on the table.

The poll follows a working group report on alternative business structures presented to Convocation last month that recommended against the majority-share option. “Such non-licensee ownership levels do not appear to be warranted based on current information when the potential benefits to such external ownership levels are weighted against the regulatory risks and regulatory proportionality,” the working group said in its report.

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