Monday, July 7, 2014

A B.C. judge has ordered the arrest of a former Ontario lawyer who has been practising law without a licence.

The court had found former lawyer John Gorman, previously disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada, in contempt in 2011 after he continued to practise law in British Columbia.

At the time, B.C. Supreme Court Justice John Savage had imposed a two-week incarceration and a $5,000 fine against Gorman, but the former lawyer never served the sentence or paid the money owing, according to a recent ruling in The Law Society of British Columbia v. Gorman.

The B.C. law society learned Gorman had left the province but he returned in 2012 and again practised law without a licence, the same judge has now found.

Savage ordered authorities to “arrest Mr. Gorman and bring him promptly before this court at 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, B.C., and unless otherwise ordered, deliver him to the warden of the Surrey Pretrial Centre.”

Miller Thomson LLP partner and Law Times columnist Jeffrey Lem is the newest bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Lem, who works in real estate law, secured lending, and insolvency, replaces Janet Minor, who became LSUC treasurer after a June 26 vote.

Quebec law firms named in Cassel Brock & Blackwell LLP’s lawsuit against 150 firms and practitioners in a conflict of interest case have lost their appeal to dismiss the claim against them.

In 2012, Cassels Brock sued numerous lawyers for improperly advising General Motors of Canada Ltd. dealers in the midst of the company’s move to close several dealerships during its 2009 financial crisis.

Dealerships that had to close up shop sued GM for allegedly forcing them to sign wind-down agreements in breach of provincial franchise law and its fiduciary duty to them. They also accused Cassels Brock of negligence in failing to provide them with the appropriate advice in addition to having an undisclosed conflict of interest. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In a counterclaim, Cassels Brock sued 150 other law firms and lawyers it claimed were responsible for improperly advising the dealers.

The named law firms have since unsuccessfully tried to dismiss the case against them. More recently, the Quebec firms appealed a decision that rejected their bid to dismiss the counterclaim.
They argued the Ontario Superior Court lacks jurisdiction over the third-party actions. But in a ruling on June 27, the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal after finding it’s “fair to subject the third party appellants to the power of the courts of Ontario.”

The Law Society of Upper Canada has decided not to change the scheme for electing regional benchers.

The current bencher election system designates the candidate in each region who receives the highest number of votes as the regional bencher to ensure representation across Ontario at Convocation.

Last year, a working group proposed putting greater emphasis on the votes from all regions for all candidates. One suggestion was to have the regional scheme apply to elect the candidate with the most votes in that area only if a region doesn’t have an elected bencher according to the initial results.

But a report to Convocation in June noted there would be no changes to the current scheme for electing regional benchers. 

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

According to the poll, 65 per cent of respondents say the federal government should step up its efforts to increase diversity in judicial appointments.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay has been under fire over remarks he made about women not applying for federal judicial appointments. During a meeting with members of the Ontario Bar Association, he reportedly referred to motherhood and its role in keeping women from seeking judicial posts.     

Free newsletter

Our newsletter is FREE and keeps you up to date on all the developments in the Ontario legal community. Please enter your email address below to subscribe.

Recent articles & video

Upcoming FACL conference focused on AI’s impact on profession, advancing careers of Asian lawyers

Legal Innovation Zone launches program to help legal tech entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses

Law Foundation of Ontario forms strategic partnership with Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund

Ontario Superior Court upholds the College of Physiotherapists’s authority over billing inaccuracies

Housing supply needs more public-private collaboration, less red tape, say lawyers

Judicial vacancies holding up construction litigation: litigators

Most Read Articles

Ontario Court of Appeal resolves access rights between parents and maternal grandparents

Ontario Court of Appeal upholds dismissal of statute-barred personal injury claim

Judicial vacancies holding up construction litigation: litigators

With new federal funding Pro Bono Ontario expanding program for Ukrainian nationals across Canada