Monday, December 3, 2012

The Law Society of Upper Canada is raising its annual fee by 1.4 per cent. As a result, the fee for a practising lawyer will increase by $25 to $1,851 from $1,826.

“This is a prudent budget that takes into account the dynamics affecting the delivery of legal services and the practice of law in Ontario,” said law society chief executive officer Robert Lapper.

Some of the factors affecting the budget include the growth in the number of lawyers and paralegals; increased use of law society reserves; and rising governance expenses.

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

According to the poll, an overwhelming number of respondents agreed with former Law Society of Upper Canada treasurer Gavin MacKenzie’s call on benchers to consider leaving articling as is with financial incentives to increase the number of positions. While 77 per cent of respondents agreed with MacKenzie, benchers nevertheless went ahead with the proposed law practice program.

A Superior Court judge has taken a family law litigant to task for leaving his wife in the cold despite an order obliging him to pay the ongoing expenses of the matrimonial home.

In Ciarlariello v. Iuele-Ciarlariello, Superior Court Justice John McDermot threatened to strike Alfredo Ciarlariello’s pleadings if he defaults on an order to reinstate the household accounts in his name and bring them into good standing after he announced via e-mail on Oct. 24 that he was cancelling expenses for auto insurance, hydro, water, gas, cable, and taxes.

Ciarlariello and Annina Iuele-Ciarlariello separated in 2011, according to McDermot’s Nov. 15 endorsement. She and the four children had earlier moved out of the matrimonial home but returned following an order confirming that Ciarlariello would pay $500 a week as well as the ongoing expenses of the home.

The issues before McDermot also dealt with a dispute between the litigants over the sale of the home after an offer to buy it fell through. “It was entirely inappropriate under the circumstances to take the actions that the applicant did; he had his remedy to deal with the respondent’s failure to accept what appeared to be a reasonable offer but instead decided to ‘punish’ the respondent for her refusal to accept the offer,” wrote McDermot in reference to Ciarlariello’s actions.

For Michael Stangarone, who represents Iuele-Ciarlariello, the case is a lesson for litigants who violate court orders. “Justice McDermot made clear that court orders are not suggestions; they are mandatory and there must be sanctions for breach,” said Stangarone of MacDonald & Partners LLP.

A Brampton, Ont., lawyer is in further hot water over the infamous Richard Wills case after the Law Society of Upper Canada launched disciplinary proceedings against him.

The lawyer in question is Raj Napal, whom the law society accuses of a number of acts of professional misconduct. It alleges he failed to encourage public respect for the administration of justice by abdicating his responsibilities as defence counsel in R. v. Wills by taking inappropriate instructions and assisting Wills to delay and prejudice the administration of justice.

The law society also accuses Napal of misconduct for advancing allegations of bias against a judge and officers of the Crown “when there was no reasonable foundation for the allegations and when he had no good-faith belief in the validity of the allegations.”

The law society issued the notice of application on Nov. 21, but the Wills matter dates back to 2007 during Napal’s defence of the now-convicted former Toronto police officer. Wills is serving a life sentence for the killing of his lover Linda Mariani.

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