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Canadian Lawyer
A Small Claims Court deputy judge should have recused himself from a case in which a paralegal who had donated to his charity campaign was representing one of the parties, a Divisional Court judge has found.
Criminal lawyers have mixed feelings about a recent Ontario Court of Justice decision that affirms the Crown’s obligation to disclose information related to the maintenance and reliability of breathalyzers but offers no remedy in a case where there was a breach of that duty.
Monday, 25 May 2015 08:00

Editorial: An outrageous act of contempt

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While the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has done many things to show contempt of democratic processes over the years, it has outdone itself with outrageous provisions related to the long-gun registry in its budget implementation bill.
As we progress through 2015, Ontario’s employment standards laws are slowly evolving as the provisions of Bill 18, the Stronger Workplace for a Stronger Economy Act, come into force.
Ontario’s problem of overcrowded prisons is about to get a lot worse, criminal lawyers are warning in the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. St-Cloud.
Monday, 25 May 2015 08:00

Focus: Flexible practices on the upswing

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Alexandra Mayeski takes advantage of the best of both worlds: she hires litigation services out to a law firm and she has her own partnership.
Flags at Queen’s University flew half-mast last week following the death of associate law dean Stanley Corbett.

Corbett, the law faculty’s longest-serving associate dean, died on May 18, the university announced.

The school said the professor’s links to Queen’s stretches over five decades, beginning with his studies in mathematics before moving to philosophy for his post-graduate degrees.

After spending a few years at Acadia University, Corbett went back to Queen’s for law school and worked as an adjunct professor in philosophy and law before becoming a full-time member of the faculty of law in 1997, the university said in a statement.

Corbett became associate dean of the faculty of law in 2008. He also served as the academic director of the faculty’s global law programs at the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle in England where he also taught a course in public international law.

When police asked Andre Ouimet if he wanted to speak to counsel after his arrest for suspected impaired driving, his response was, “Yeah, yeah.”

A lower court judge erred in interpreting that to mean no, according to a recent Superior Court ruling that set aside Ouimet’s conviction for refusing to provide a breath sample and ordered a new trial before a different judge.

The lower court judge had accepted testimony from a police officer that Ouimet was being dismissive when informed of his right to seek legal advice.

“Regrettably, there is little in the trial judge’s reasons for judgment to animate why he came to the conclusion that the Appellant did not convey ‘a desire to speak to counsel,’” wrote Superior Court Justice Brian Abrams.

“Rather, the trial judge’s conclusion rests on Constable Collins mere assumption that the appellant waived his right to counsel based on the tone that he used when he said, ‘Yeah, yeah.’”

Police took no steps to confirm that Ouimet was waiving his right to counsel, according to Abrams. “Though perhaps not a flagrant breach, this misconduct amounts to a serious infringement of the Appellant’s Charter rights,” he wrote.

“The officer should have known his Charter obligations during this routine impaired driving investigation. The conduct here is in the category of behaviour from which the Court should be concerned to disassociate itself.”

Legal Aid Ontario has launched a pilot project that will provide the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted with $100,000 in funding over two years for post-conviction legal services and education.

“This funding will finance case reviews of questionable convictions, so that wrongfully convicted people are identified more quickly and legal proceedings to secure their exonerations can move forward,” said LAO chairman John McCamus.

“LAO’s core mandate is to provide access to justice. I am delighted with this important next step in supporting access to justice for the wrongfully convicted,” he added.

The new LAO funding recognizes the importance of the organization’s work on behalf of the wrongfully convicted, said Ron Dalton, a co-president of AIDWYC.

“It’s a desperate situation to be in prison for a crime you did not commit and to have no one to turn to for help because you have no money,” said Dalton.

“This pilot project, the first of its kind in Canada, reflects an inspirational and pioneering effort towards access to justice and we are enormously grateful for their much-needed support,” he added.   

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP says it’s collaborating with corporate advisory firm Atlantic Advisory Partners to help companies take full advantage of the trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.

The firm says that together with Atlantic Advisory Partners, it will provide strategic legal, business development, and financial services to companies in both the Canadian and the European market.

Richard Wagner, a senior partner at Norton Rose Fulbright in Ottawa, said while the free-trade deal will reduce barriers to trade on both sides, “there are steps Canadian and EU companies will need to take to make the most of” the agreement.

“We’re very pleased to partner with AAP to provide legal and business advice on the agreement that’s second-to-none,” he said.
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

Despite concerns expressed by the Ontario Court of Appeal in a recent ruling, 55 per cent of respondents say the courts are doing enough to support bilingual proceedings and provide services in French.

Recently, the appeal court made a strong statement about language rights by awarding costs against the Crown in a criminal case after finding a francophone defendant suffered linguistic disadvantages during a bilingual preliminary hearing.

The Ontario government, meanwhile, says it’s making moves to improve French-language services in the courts. The Ministry of the Attorney General is getting ready to launch a pilot project in Ottawa that will implement a number of recommendations from the French-language services bench and bar advisory committee in 2012.
The disciplinary case of Viktor Hohots, a lawyer suspended last week for failure to adequately serve his clients, reveals the need for “massive reform” in the way lawyers represent refugee claimants, says constitutional lawyer Mary Eberts.
Monday, 18 May 2015 08:00

Lessons from the Nortel case

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One of the lawyers involved in the Nortel Networks Corp. proceedings says the biggest lesson to take away from the difficult cross-border trial is the need for an international insolvency adjudication forum.
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Was the Superior Court right to order a new trial over a paralegal's donation to a Small Claims Court deputy judge's cycling fundraiser?