Monday, June 9, 2014

The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association has chosen Steven Rastin as its new president for the 2014-15 year.

Rastin, who practises at Rastin & Associates PC in Barrie and Midland, Ont., replaces Charles Gluckstein in the role. “I am keenly looking forward to serving all OTLA members in the coming year as president, and working with my colleagues to promote better access to justice for all Ontarians,” said Rastin.

Rastin also noted the challenges facing personal injury lawyers. “There are many significant challenges that lie ahead, particularly with respect to auto insurance in Ontario. OTLA will be working with the newly elected government and all MPPs to ensure fair treatment for injured accident victims.”

Some 100 members of the justice sector met on June 3 to discuss collaboration among different groups to address access to justice concerns.

The meeting was the first of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s action group on access to justice, a forum meant to foster teamwork across the legal sector to make justice more accessible.

Representatives from the courts, government, academia, the bar, paralegal associations, and access to justice organizations attended the inaugural meeting and shared examples of potential actions.

“Ontarians need to be able to access their justice system in a timely fashion in ways that they can understand and at a price they can afford,” said Thomas Conway, treasurer of the law society.

“Expanding the law society’s role in improving access to justice has been my primary focus for the last two years. To launch [the action group], and see not only the law society’s commitment but the commitment of so many others to making [it] a success, is a tremendous end to my term as treasurer,” he added.

“Collaboration is the only way we will be able to make substantial and lasting change.”

Nine months after the retirement of justice Morris Fish, Canada’s highest court will finally have a full bench.

The federal government announced last week it would appoint Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Clément Gascon to the Supreme Court of Canada. At 54, he’ll be the youngest judge on the Supreme Court when he assumes the position on June 9.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin welcomed the appointment in a statement.

“Justice Gascon is a distinguished jurist,” wrote McLachlin. “He brings extensive expertise in the commercial and civil law of Quebec, as well as many years of experience as a judge. I look forward to his contributions to the court.”

After receiving a civil law degree from McGill University, Gascon worked as a civil and commercial litigator with the now-defunct Heenan Blaikie LLP.

He joined the Quebec Superior Court in 2002 and then became a judge of the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2012.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP pension and benefits lawyer Randy Bauslaugh has been inducted into the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute Hall of Fame, the law firm announced.

The hall of fame recognizes members who have made “a lasting impact” on the institute.

“Mr. Bauslaugh has been involved in many of the leading pension and benefit cases during his 30-year career,” McCarthys said in a statement announcing the honour.

“He routinely leads negotiations relating to pension and benefit issues, and acts as a mediator and arbitrator in pension-related labour disputes.” 

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

In a rather lopsided result, 95 per cent of participants feel Canada needs new laws restricting police disclosure of non-conviction records. The poll follows arecent report by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association that found “a patchwork” of laws across Canada on what should and shouldn’t turn up in records checks. The situation has resulted in disclosure of dropped charges, acquittals, mental-health apprehensions, and even casual contacts by police to employers and schools that require a background check, according to the report.

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