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Canadian Lawyer
Monday, 08 September 2014 09:00

Advocate’s 17-year journey comes to an end

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Teklemichael Sahlemariam’s journey to becoming a lawyer started almost 17 years ago. Next week, after advocacy efforts that landed him in big trouble back home, his journey will end as he becomes a legal advocate at his call to the bar ceremony in Toronto.
Monday, 08 September 2014 09:00

LAO project tests expanded paralegal role

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In yet another effort at reform, Legal Aid Ontario says it has trained a handful of its staff paralegals to take on expanded roles in criminal courts.
Monday, 08 September 2014 09:00

JP association concerned about review council process

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Ontario’s justices of the peace have lost their bid to intervene in a misconduct hearing over concerns about the handling of allegations that one of their colleagues falsified expenses.
Monday, 08 September 2014 09:00

Editorial: Step up Syrian refugee assistance

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It’s no understatement to say the world seemed to be descending into chaos in many places this summer.
Initially, the essential controversy on the subject of obesity as a ground for a human rights complaint centred on whether claimants must prove an underlying disability that in turn has caused their condition.
Monday, 08 September 2014 09:00

Transgender ruling includes surprising twist

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A recent human rights decision has gained some attention, not only for awarding three transgender people damages but also because the tribunal found the discrimination had harmed a business owner even though she didn’t identify with that category.
Ottawa lawyer Patrick McCann has joined Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s litigation and dispute-resolution group.

According to Faskens, McCann’s practice will focus on white-collar crime, investigations, and compliance. The law firm said McCann, among the first group of lawyers to obtain certification as specialists in criminal law, has been practising for 40 years. “Our white-collar crime, investigations, and compliance practice area is dedicated to helping clients respond to criminal and regulatory investigations and litigation. Our team is already recognized as a leader in this field of law, with substantial experience in protecting client interests in domestic, multi-jurisdictional, and international situations,” said Martin Denyes, Faskens’ managing partner for Ontario.

“Having an outstanding criminal lawyer like Patrick join our team further enhances our group.”

A Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel has disbarred a Scarborough, Ont., real estate lawyer for knowingly participating in fraud.

While the panel found Thelma Pushparanee Williams was careless in her work in relation to several transactions, in one case she was reckless when she knew the risk of fraud was real. “In one transaction, we found that the lawyer was aware of the risk of fraud and we found knowing participation in mortgage fraud on the basis of recklessness,” wrote panel chairman David Wright, adding the lawyer failed to advise her lender client of “an obviously sham credit.”

“She knew there were tenants in each of the units of the four-unit property, and commissioned and submitted to her lender client a statutory declaration that said the purchaser would live in the property and it would be used as a single-family dwelling,” wrote Wright in describing one of the problems cited in the case.

“She said she did so because she did not know whether the purchaser would live in the property after the sale. The lender sold this property several years later under power of sale for approximately $88,000 less than the value of the mortgage.”

The panel said it had no confidence in Williams’ ability to act cautiously when “unusual” matters arose in her practice. “When transactions did not have unusual features, the lawyer served her clients well,” wrote Wright in the Aug. 26 decision of the law society tribunal hearing panel. “However, the lawyer’s ethical failings showed when matters were unusual or she was under pressure. She failed to prepare as a professional for such circumstances by educating herself, or to give sufficient attention to the aspects of real estate transactions that may require the detailed attention, expertise, and judgment of a lawyer.”

The panel also ordered Williams to pay $5,000 in costs to the law society.

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

Despite some controversy, the majority of respondents agree with Legal Aid Ontario’s move to expand duty counsel services. According to the poll, 63 per cent of respondents said they agree with the duty-counsel expansion as LAO needs to find a way to increase services and provide them more efficiently.

As Law Times reported in recent weeks, LAO has been hiring a spate of new duty counsel with the prospect of some of them taking on an expanded role in the court system. It said it embarked on the new hiring following a financial analysis that found it’s cheaper in some areas to hire staff rather than pay private-bar lawyers on a per diem basis to do duty-counsel work.

Some lawyers, however, have been critical. The Criminal Lawyers’ Association suggested LAO should also invest in private-bar services through legal aid certificates.
If the Ministry of the Attorney General gets its way in a unique civil forfeiture case, an alleged drunken sailor could see his boat taken away by the government.
Monday, 01 September 2014 08:00

Report outlines details for clinic mergers

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After weeks of discussion, the group leading the reorganization of the Greater Toronto Area’s legal clinics has released its detailed plan for creating five organizations across the region.
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Law Times poll

Do you agree with the Ontario government's plan to remove the right to sue car insurers for accident benefits under bill 15?
Yes, moving matters to the Licence Appeal Tribunal will be more efficient.
No, forcing people to launch separate accident-benefits and tort proceedings will complicate the system.