Monday, July 12, 2010

Toronto lawyer Fredrick Blake Kenwell has been disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada and ordered to pay costs of $15,000.

A disciplinary panel found him guilty of misconduct for failing to provide an account of retainer funds for two clients. He also failed, without explanation, to attend a cross-examination of a sworn affidavit in the Ontario Superior Court.

In addition, the law society found Kenwell had failed to co-operate with its investigation and that he had ignored previous orders of the hearing panel following his suspension in February 2008.

As part of that ruling, it ordered Kenwell to pay $5,000 in costs and take part in a practice review and refresher program. Instead, the regulator says he changed his contact information and abandoned his practice in April 2008 without taking the appropriate steps to protect his clients.

A man convicted of a crime to which Paul Bernardo later confessed has filed a $1.1-million lawsuit against Toronto police, his former lawyer, and Ontario’s attorney general.

Anthony Hanemaayer was wrongfully convicted in 1989 for break and enter and assault with intent to rape after pleading guilty on the advice of his lawyer, Gerry Samulovitch.

Hanemaayer received a two-year sentence for the 1987 break-in and attack on a young woman at a Scarborough residence. He denied all knowledge of the crime until the victim’s mother identified him as the assailant.

In 2005, Bernardo informed his own lawyer he had committed the crime, but Hanemaayer alleges the Toronto police detectives and the Crown attorney assigned to the case never told him about the development.

He claims he only found out later in 2007 from another lawyer involved in a separate wrongful conviction case.

Law firm mergers involving American firms were up last quarter after a recent slump, according to leading legal market watchers Hildebrandt Baker Robbins.

The consulting firm recorded 10 mergers last quarter, up from four in the previous period. But the 14 mergers completed during the first half of 2010 still lags well behind the 42 recorded in the same period last year.

There was one Canadian-only merger involving Atlantic Canada’s Cox & Palmer with Halifax firm Goldberg Thompson.

“We are seeing significant interest in combinations, including a dramatic increase in interest in cross-border transactions. We expect the second half of the year to continue to show increased merger activity,” said Lisa Smith, head of Hildebrandt’s law firm strategy and merger practices.

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has announced that Tim Haney has joined the firm as a partner in its national securities and corporate finance group.

Based in Calgary, Haney’s practice covers matters pertaining to securities, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and a wide variety of corporate transactions.

In his new role, he’ll provide advice on mergers-and-acquisitions transactions in diverse industries including oil and gas, power, mining, and infrastructure.

CourtCanada Ltd. has filed a $12-million lawsuit against the Ontario government for its alleged failure to extend its court scheduling system.

The company claims the Ministry of the Attorney General violated an agreement between the two parties by blocking the expansion of CourtCanada’s online system for court attendance reservations.

The statement of claim, filed with the Superior Court of Justice on July 8, also alleges the ministry sabotaged the system in an attempt to justify its decision.

The government “deliberately and systematically” interfered with the system by deleting records and publishing false information on it, the claim states. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

CourtCanada set the system up in October 2007 as part of a pilot project to let lawyers book time in court on a pay-per-use basis without going to the courthouse.

A year later, CourtCanada says it won a contract that allowed it to expand the system to all divisions of the civil court.

But the expansion was delayed in early 2009, and in March 2010, according to the claim, the ministry terminated any further expansion.

Marlys Edwardh has been named a member of the Order of Canada as part of the newest batch of appointees.

According to an entry on the Governor General’s web site, Edwardh was recognized “for her contributions as a lawyer and volunteer, notably as a champion of civil liberties and human rights.”

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