Monday, June 8, 2009

The Justice and Human Rights committee has sent the Harper government’s “dead time” bill back to the House of Commons, making no amendments to the controversial legislation.

Bill C-25 proposes to end judicial discretion to give extra credit for time served before sentencing.

It would mean that the maximum credit for time served before sentencing would be one day for each day in remand custody before trial and sentencing, which would kill the widespread judicial practice of counting time served in pre-trial detention as double time.

Lawyers and experts have argued the bill will worsen prison conditions and lead to a Charter challenge over cruel and unusual punishment and the right to a speedy trial.

The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association has continued its Helmets on Kids initiative, announcing it will distribute nearly 300 lids to public school kids in Ottawa.

“Helmet use is key to injury prevention. In a city like Ottawa, with all the opportunities for outdoor activity, we wanted to help ensure that children are wearing their helmets when participating in activities such as cycling, rollerblading, and skateboarding,” said Laurie Tucker, an Ottawa personal injury lawyer and organizer of the program, in a release.

It’s the second year that lawyers and law firms in Ottawa have joined the initiative. Several other local organizations are also on board.

Lawyer and law clerk members of the OTLA will hand out the helmets to students at four schools on June 5 and 8 as part of the program. There they will advise students about helmet safety and proper fitting.


WeirFoulds LLP partner Derry Millar will continue to sit at the head of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Convocation table after being acclaimed treasurer for a second yearlong term.

“Leading the law society is a tremendous privilege,” said Millar in a release. “I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to work with so many dedicated individuals, within Convocation, the law society, and the legal and paralegal communities at large. I look forward to the continuation of our work.”

The law society has revoked Robert Kendrick MacFarlane’s licence to practise and ordered him to pay over $52,000 to the compensation fund following a professional misconduct finding.

MacFarlane, a Mississauga lawyer called to the bar in 1984, was cited for:
• failing to co-operate with the law society's spot auditor's attempts to schedule and conduct an audit of his practice;

• for two specified periods, failing to respond to the law society's communications;

• failing to maintain books and records for his practice, or, in the alternative, failing to co-operate with the law society's requests for his books and records; and

• misappropriating the sum of approximately $48,000 belonging to his client.
MacFarlane was also ordered to pay the law society $5,000 in costs.

A few members of the legal establishment will get a salute later this month at York University’s spring convocation ceremonies.

Last week the school announced a list of recipients of honourary degrees, and three lawyers and judges are on it: Labour law and constitutional scholar Paul Weiler; retired Ontario Court of justice and legal scholar Vibert Lampkin; and Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Paul Rouleau, who is also an advocate for the legal right of francophones in Ontario to receive education in French.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP last week announced several personnel moves to its Quebec operations, with five new lawyers coming on board.

“Our firm’s future competitiveness depends on growth,” said Claude Auger, the firm’s managing partner for the Quebec region, in a release. “We are proud to add these talented lawyers to our firm.”

Jean-Philippe Guay, who worked at the firm as a student in 2005, will practise litigation; Charles Lupien will practise intellectual property; and Caitlin Rose and Bradley Massi will practise business law. All will work out of the Montreal office.

The firm also announced the addition of Jean-Nicolas Delage, a lawyer and trademark agent, to its equity partnership.

The University of British Columbia is mourning the loss of international law expert Prof. Thomas Martin Franck, who passed away in his New York home after battling cancer.

“Professor Franck is widely recognized as one of the world’s most productive and influential scholars of international law in recent times,” said UBC Faculty of Law assistant Prof. Natasha Affolder, in a release.

“Moreover, he served as an ‘intellectual beacon’ for generations of students and scholars. UBC has lost an alumnus this week, and the world has lost a scholar, whose life and work significantly advanced both international law and human rights.

This loss is already being felt around the world.”
Some of Franck’s prominent writings are online at

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