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Monday, March 2, 2015

CBA AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

The Canadian Bar Association has recognized a number of lawyers through its 2015 awards.

The awards recognize CBA members who, among other contributions, work to advance equality for gays and lesbians, demonstrate exceptional service to the association’s goals, offer pro bono legal services as a young lawyer or show outstanding efforts as a student member.

Geoffrey Creighton, who recently retired as general counsel at IGM Financial Inc., took home the Douglas Miller award while Stewart McKelvey partner William Ryan received the Louis St-Laurent award. The CBA is also honouring Christian Whalen, senior legal counsel with the New Brunswick office of the child and youth advocate, with the John Tait award.

The awards also recognized several academics. University of Toronto law professor Stephen Waddams receives the Ramon John Hnatyshyn award while the Touchstone award goes to another professor, Martha Jackman of the University of Ottawa.

Other professors honoured include University of Ottawa law Prof. Nicole LaViolette, who received the SOGIC Hero award. The CBA also awarded the SOGIC Ally award to Victoria lawyer Michael Mulligan. In addition, the CBA recognized Deborah Templer, a partner at

Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, with the Young Lawyers Pro Bono award and University of Montreal student Olivier Girardeau with the 2014 Rowan-Legg award.

TORONTO LAWYER DISBARRED ON APPEAL

The Law Society Tribunal has disbarred Toronto real estate and corporate commercial lawyer Norma Jean Walton.

An appeal panel ordered revocation of her licence on Feb. 18 after the Law Society of Upper Canada appealed a previous ruling that had suspended her for 18 months for misconduct that included comingling her corporate or personal funds with client trust funds and misleading a client on the nature of an investment.

“Taken cumulatively, and discounting the few mitigating factors that were relied upon erroneously by the hearing panel, this was a case with the following features: many serious findings of misconduct over a lengthy duration, featuring an absence of integrity, honesty and candidness on the part of the licensee, with minimal mitigating circumstances, and multiple aggravating considerations,” wrote appeal panel chairman Raj Anand.

The original hearing panel had declined to disbar Walton on the basis that the evidence before it didn’t support a finding of “a complete loss of integrity” as the law society had argued.

Walton has also faced separate allegations in litigation involving Dr. Stanley Bernstein, a well-known diet doctor. According to court documents in civil proceedings related to the Bernstein case, mortgages worth $6 million were allegedly discharged from joint investment projects Walton and her husband owned with Bernstein without his approval. A court-ordered investigation also found that $2.1 million in mortgage proceeds had been diverted from the joint investments.

POLL RESULTS

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

According to the poll, the majority of respondents are happy with the newly rebranded civil practice court at the Superior Court of Justice.

Sixty-one per cent of poll participants said the court, which is allowing judges to manage cases and resolve some disputes without requiring a formal motion, would make a big difference.

The culture of endless motions in Toronto had created a massive backlog that meant wait times of up to seven months to bring even the simplest of motions. At the instruction of Chief Justice Heather Smith, a civil justice review committee has been working to reduce the wait time for complex motions to four months.

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Law Times Poll


It's unknown how widely police in Ontario utilize controversial surveillance techniques that can capture private data from non-targets in criminal investigations. Do you think there should be formal requirements to release this information?
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