Monday, April 11, 2011

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling by a Superior Court judge that deemed legislation concerning the tenure and remuneration of case management masters to be unconstitutional.

Appeal court Justice James MacPherson, writing for the three-judge panel, agreed that a process linking case management masters’ pay to top-level public servants, whose rate in turn was set by the provincial cabinet, wasn’t independent enough.

The classification “is established and controlled by the government; it is the precise opposite of an intermediary at arm’s length from the government,” MacPherson wrote in his March 30 decision.

The government was given 12 months to change the legislation when Superior Court Justice Terrence Platana delivered his decision in August 2010, but MacPherson reset the clock after government lawyers argued the upcoming provincial election would disrupt their ability to tackle the problem by that deadline. They now have until March 2012 to make the changes.

For more on this story, see "Pay structure for court management masters unconstitutional: judge."

A Law Society of Upper Canada panel has dismissed Ryan Manilla’s appeal of the decision to deny him a licence to practise law.

Manilla was denied a licence by a panel that found he wasn’t of good character by a 2-1 majority. The law school star ran into trouble after a dispute with members of his condo board that spiralled out of control.

Manilla ended up facing criminal harassment charges over the condo fee dispute, although the charges were later diverted.

He apologized for his behaviour and attended therapy but failed to accept responsibility for a letter that smeared his condo board colleagues until five days before his good character hearing.

At the appeal, Manilla’s lawyer, Phil Downes, argued the original decision had given inadequate reasons for denying him entry to the profession and complained it isolated a key question but failed to answer it.

“As a witness, he appeared to be forthright and convincing. But was he being merely manipulative?” the panel asked.

But the appeal panel decided that the reasons, read as a whole, “amply explained and justified” the decision to deny Manilla a licence. The question about his credibility wasn’t one it had to answer, wrote appeal panel chairman Mark Sandler.

“The hearing panel merely reflected that its inability to resolve that issue contributed to its finding that the appellant had not met his burden of proof of demonstrating his good character,” he said in the March 25 decision.

For more on this story, see "2 law grads continue fight to become lawyers."

Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP and Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh dominated at the annual Managing Intellectual Property gala in Washington on March 29.

In the Canadian category, Gowlings took home two awards after being named Patent Prosecution and Patent Contentious firm of the year.
Smart & Biggar picked up four awards, including Trademark Prosecution and Trademark Contentious firm of the year.

Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP’s international arbitration group has made a global mark for itself just two years after it was established.

In newly released editions, both Global Arbitration Review and Chambers Global recognized the Ottawa firm’s group as a leader.

Global Arbitration Review ranks Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall among the top 100 international arbitration law firms in the world, while Chambers Global placed two of the firm’s partners, Andrew McDougall and Barry Leon, among the leading arbitration lawyers in Canada.

“It is an honour to be recognized by clients and peers alike from around the world,” McDougall said in a statement. “What sets us apart is the high-quality partner-level involvement we are able to provide at a sensible cost without the conflicts of interest that exist in larger firms.”

Anne Giardini, president of Weyerhaeuser Co. Ltd., has won the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s 2011 Robert V.A. Jones Award.

Giardini picked up the award on April 5 during the CCCA’s national spring conference in Toronto. It recognizes outstanding contributions to the corporate counsel community, including significant research or writing on related issues.

“Her active involvement in the in-house community, along with her writing on substantive legal issues important to all corporate lawyers, combine to make her the ideal candidate and winner,” said CCCA chairman Robert Patzelt.

Giardini joined Weyerhaeuser in 1994 as legal counsel and served as assistant general counsel before becoming vice president and general counsel in 2006. She was named president in 2008.

She has been an active member of the CCCA since 2002 and has often written on aboriginal rights, ethics, and legal issues. She also writes columns for The National Post.

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