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Monday, October 6, 2014

TWU RULING OUTLINES WHO CAN INTERVENE

Faced with 14 motions to intervene in Trinity Western University’s judicial review application, Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer granted only some of them in a ruling last month.

Ten of the 14 applicants asked to intervene in favour of Trinity Western in its challenge of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s decision to deny accreditation of its planned law school.

But many of the 10 applicants, most of them religious groups, had similar viewpoints, according to Nordheimer. The court, he said, isn’t looking for “slight nuances.”

He granted intervener status to the Christian Legal Fellowship and jointly to the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Christian Higher Education Canada. He denied intervener status to the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, the Association for Reformed Political Action Canada, the Catholic Civil Rights League, and the Faith and Freedom Alliance.

He also granted the applications of The Advocates’ Society and the Criminal Lawyers’ Association as well as joint intervener status for Out On Bay Street and OUTlaws. However, he declined intervener status for the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers.

He also outlined some conditions. For example, they won’t seek costs or be subject to them, their submissions can’t be longer than 15 pages, they’ll have 30 minutes to speak, and they must file all of their materials electronically.

The decision comes as Canada’s law societies continue to grapple with the accreditation issue. On Sept. 26, the benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia decided to hold a referendum on the issue this month following a special general meeting that sought to reverse their earlier decision in favour of the law school. For its part, Trinity Western expressed disappointment at the latest development. “The referendum cannot be binding on the benchers,” said Trinity Western school of law executive director Earl Phillips.

COLUMNIST APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF TITLES

Law Society of Upper Canada Bencher and Law Times columnist Jeffrey Lem is the new director of titles for the Ontario government.

Lem started his term on Oct. 1. A certified specialist in real estate law, he most recently practised at Miller Thomson LLP.

In his new position, Lem is responsible for the Land Titles Act, the Registry Act, and the land registration system. He replaces assistant deputy minister Kate Murray, who retired from the position earlier in the year.

NEW OBA SECTION LAUNCHED

The Ontario Bar Association has a new section for child and youth law.

With Ontario’s children’s lawyer Lucy McSweeney at the helm, the section will focus on improving the experience of children and youth in the justice system.

“It is critical to recognize that, in virtually every area of the law, special considerations must be brought to bear in order to properly serve children and youth,” said McSweeney.

“Our new section will educate the bar and public-policy makers about these factors and thereby improve access to justice for Ontario’s vulnerable young people.”

The section launched last week together with an OBA professional development program that will help lawyers serve independent teens and youth who are seeking child support from their parents.

“When a child is forced to leave home involuntarily, parents continue to have financial support obligations. Many youth in these circumstances find themselves living on the street either unaware of their rights or unable to enforce them,” said Mary Birdsell, executive director of Justice for Children and Youth and vice chairwoman of the new section.

CLA GALA THIS MONTH

The Criminal Lawyers’ Association will host its 2014 past presidents gala on Oct. 29.

The CLA says the gala will honour “individuals that were vital voices for the criminal defence profession in Ontario through their leadership of the CLA.”

The CLA expects 400 senior lawyers to attend the gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. Criminal lawyer Edward Greenspan will be the keynote speaker for the night.

Those wanting to attend can register online on the CLA’s web site at criminallawyers.ca.

AVIATION PRACTITIONER JOINS JAMS

Aviation practitioner D. Bruce Garrow has joined JAMS as an arbitrator, mediator, and special master.

Garrow will serve in a variety of areas including aviation, aerospace insurance, maritime law, andproduct liability.

“Bruce is well known for his ability to resolve complex disputes involving insured risks and insurance coverage issues,” said Chris Poole, president and chief executive officer of JAMS.

“We’re thrilled to have him join our panel in Toronto.”

POLL RESULTS

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

According to the poll, 70 per cent of respondents feel there should be a dedicated number of bencher positions for solicitors at the Law Society of Upper Canada.

A movement is in the works to get more solicitors elected in the law society bencher elections next spring in light of their proportionately low numbers at Convocation. Some solicitors, like County of Carleton Law Association real estate lawyers committee chairwoman Nancy Johnson, say they should have a guaranteednumber of seats at Convocation, much like the situation for paralegals.

According to the majority of poll respondents, having a reserved number of seats for solicitors is the only way to ensure adequate representation.

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