Monday, March 10, 2014

Ontario has appointed 21 new justices of the peace to the Ontario Court of Justice.

The 21 appointees include people with a wide range of experiences, including former CBC journalist Karen Baum and former City of Toronto solicitor and Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services counsel Rosanne Giulietti.

Among the appointees is Anna Blauveldt, Canada’s former ambassador to Iceland. Others include former sole practitioner Karen Valentine; court manager Helena Cassano; provincial prosecutors Ralph Cotter and Lloyd Phillipps; Mississauga, Ont., lawyer Veruschka Fisher-Grant; broadcaster Jane Hawtin; criminal lawyer Rizwan Khan; Brunet McMahon LLP partner John McMahon; Law Society of Upper Canada discipline paralegal Jane Moffatt; Legal Aid Ontario Newmarket, Ont., criminal duty counsel office manager Renée Rerup; LAO duty counsel Raffaella Scarpato; and psychotherapist Audrey Summers.

A handful of appointees, such as Thomas Glassford, Paula Konstantinidis, Paul Langlois, and Michele Thompson, worked for the Ministry of the Attorney General in various capacities. In addition, the province named Temagami First Nation at Bear Island executive director Holly Charyna and principal Ginette Forgues as new justices of the peace.

Many of the 21 will be working in Toronto, but a handful will be taking up their new roles in Ottawa, Brampton, Owen Sound, Barrie, Walkerton, Brantford, Peterborough, Sault Ste. Marie, and Cornwall, Ont.

Besides the new justices of the peace, the province named a new judge on Feb. 28. On March 12, Romuald Kwolek will join the Ontario Court bench in Sault Ste. Marie. A former deputy judge of the Small Claims Court, Kwolek is a lawyer with a general practice that included family law.

McMillan LLP lawyer Jeffrey Beedell has joined Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.

Previously, Beedell worked as a Supreme Court agent advising on leave applications and appeals, according to Gowlings. Beedell was also part of a team that worked on amending the top court’s rules of practice, electronic filing efforts, and the introduction of electronic materials, the firm noted.

“Jeff is one of Canada’s most highly regarded Supreme Court agents. His ability to navigate the complexities of the court and deliver the best possible results is second to none,” said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings’ chairman and chief executive officer.

“As trusted counsel to a long list of national clients, Jeff is an invaluable addition to Gowlings, where he will further enhance a team that already includes some of the country’s pre-eminent Supreme Court professionals.”

Lawyers from Toronto and New York will meet in both cities this month to talk about cross-border legal issues and how to serve their clients better.

The legal summit will include discussions on issues such as cross-border taxation, financing transactions, multijurisdictional class action litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and mining and energy, according to the Ontario Bar Association.

The Toronto event will take place on March 28, and lawyers will meet again on March 31 in New York.

The summit is a joint effort by the OBA and the New York State Bar Association with help from the Canadian Bar Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the New York City Bar Association, and the international law section of the American Bar Association.

An Ontario Superior Court judge has rejected a settlement agreement in a copyright class action between Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd. and immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman.

In the fall, the parties reached an agreement that would see Thomson Reuters pay $350,000 towards a cy-près fund. The arrangement would settle a class action over copyright issues related to Thomson Reuters’ Litigator legal research service. Waldman, represented by class counsel Jordan Goldblatt and Marlys Edwardh, was the representative plaintiff in a case that alleged copyright infringement in the service’s use of documents such as pleadings and affidavits. As part of the settlement reached last fall, Thomson Reuters, which owns Law Times, denied the claims and asserted several defences, including fair dealing and the open-court principle.

The cy-près money would create a fund for legal scholarship across Canada as part of a joint venture between law schools, students, and lawyers. The goal was to provide a vehicle for funding public interest litigation.

But in a ruling last week, Justice Paul Perell found the settlement agreement not to “be fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the class members.” The decision followed objections by seven class members. Among the objectors’ concerns was the payment of $825,000 to class counsel. “The optics of class counsel receiving a counsel fee of $825,000 — which it must be noted is a term of the settlement agreement and not detached from it — and the class members’ receiving only a notional benefit of a $350,000 from a cy-près trust fund, are bad,” wrote Perell.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP says its restructuring and insolvency practice area has received a major boost as almost half a dozen former Dentons Canada LLP lawyers join the firm’s Toronto office.

Former Dentons lawyers Shayne Kukulowicz, Michael Wunder, Ryan Jacobs, Jane Dietrich, and Natalie Levine are joining Cassels Brock’s restructuring and insolvency practice while the Vancouver mining team has found new talent in former McMillan LLP partner Darrell Podowski.

“The addition of these nationally recognized lawyers accelerates the execution on our long-term plans,” said Mark Young, managing partner at Cassels Brock.

“With Darrell, Shayne, Michael, Ryan, Jane, and Natalie, we have increased our capabilities in two cornerstone areas of our practice and, even more importantly, further enhanced the exceptional level of expertise and service we can provide to our clients.”
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

Although many people agree on the need for increased access to justice, not everyone is sure about flipping a wig to show their passion for the cause.

About 55 per cent of poll respondents said they’d participate in a campaign that asked lawyers and members of the public to don outlandish wigs on March 6 in a playful show of frustration about the lack of access to justice in Canada. But 45 per cent of Law Times respondents felt they’d look ridiculous in a judicial wig.

The campaign sought to raise awareness about the crisis of access of justice. It also raised funds for seven non-profit law organizations.

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