Judge facing complaint for mock trial participation
Ontario Superior Court Justice Todd Ducharme is facing a judicial complaint for participating in a public mock trial of environmental activist David Suzuki that concluded in a not guilty verdict. The mock trial, organized by Cape Farewell Foundation, an organization that seeks to bring attention to climate change, took place at the Royal Ontario Museum Nov. 6.
Now, oil sands advocacy group EthicalOil.org says Ducharme’s participation in the mock trial took place in the context of a “controversial political agenda” and compromises his judicial impartiality.
The mock trial “was a deliberate hijacking of the trappings of a trial, the deliberate appropriation of the dignity and impartiality of the courts for a partisan campaign,” EthicalOil.org said in its complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council.
EthicalOil.org says Ducharme was selected for the role after his colleague Justice Harriet Sachs withdrew her involvement after questions were raised about “the propriety of her participation.”
EthicalOil.org says it is “non-partisan and supported by persons who believe that the Canadian values reflected in ethical oil appeal to people from all walks of life and across the political spectrum.”
Law firms raise $243,000 for food bank
The results of the law firm challenge for the Daily Bread Food Bank are in with Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP coming out on top.
Blakes was among 29 Toronto law firms that raised $243,000 in cash and food donations for the food bank during the three-week competition.
Blakes raised $39,500, followed closely by Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP at $38,062, and McCarthy Tétrault LLP at $36,702. On a per-capita basis, the top firms were Paliare Roland at $536.08, Solmon Rothbart Goodman LLP at $347.83, and Owens Wright LLP at $294.02.
As part of its efforts, Blakes had an event every week of the food drive: a pie duel the first week; a bake sale the second week; and raffles and karaoke at the firm’s holiday party during the third week.
Blakes raised $9,000 from the karaoke event alone. The event included a pledge drive in which firm chairman Brock Gibson and managing partner Rob Granatstein sang three karaoke songs in front of everyone at the party. Blakes also took in $20,000 from the pie duel in which Granatstein took one in the face from chief financial officer Richard Prupas.
Blakes has been organizing the law firm challenge for 11 years. The first year, the participating firms raised more than $60,000. Throughout the years, the event has brought in almost $2 million for the food bank.
New judges appointed to Superior Court
A slew of new judges have been appointed to the Ontario Superior Court. The appointees include former Ontario Bar Association President Jamie Trimble, Clyde & Co. Canada LLP lawyer Graeme Mew, Burlington lawyer Michael G. Emery, and Cobourg sole practitioner Stephen T. Bale.
Mew’s main areas of practice were civil litigation, insurance law, sports law, arbitration and mediation. Trimble, a certified specialist in civil litigation, practised insurance defence law at Hughes Amys LPP in Hamilton. He was the OBA’s president from 2008-2009.
Emery, who practised at Simpson Wigle LAW LLP, focused on commercial litigation, estate litigation, and insurance litigation. Bale’s main area of practice was general litigation.
A number of other judicial annoucements were also made Dec. 18. Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz was appointed regional senior judge of the Toronto Region to replace Justice E.F. Then, who resigned from the position in November. Sudbury Justice Robbie D. Gordon, will become regional senior judge of the Northeast Region on Jan. 22, 2014, taking over from Justice Louise L. Gauthier, who will be giving up the position. Both Then and Gauthier will return to their regular judicial duties.
Superior Court Justice George Czutrin has been appointed senior family judge of the Family Court to replace Justice R. John Harper, who resigned the position in November. Harper will move to Brantford to replace Justice H. Arrell, who has been transferred to Hamilton to replace Justice A. Whitten, who elected to become a supernumerary judge.
Law Times poll
The results for the latest Law Times online poll are in. About 76 per cent of respondents are not optimistic about the business environment for lawyers and law firms in 2014.
In a recent article, Law Times reported there is “cautious optimism” through the corporate corridors of Bay St. as law firms are predicted to raise salaries for experienced counsel and some lawyers in the mining industry expect there will be new opportunities.