Monday, March 24, 2014

ELGIN COUNTY COURTHOUSE TO OPEN
The construction of the Elgin County courthouse in St. Thomas, Ont., is complete.

The new courthouse will be home to the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, which were previously at separate locations.

The court will be “fully operational” on March 24, the Ministry of the Attorney General announced. The building had been in construction since June 2011.

On March 18, dignitaries including Attorney General John Gerretsen, St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson, and Elgin County warden David Marr held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the project.

“For over a century and a half, the Elgin County courthouse has stood as a St. Thomas landmark. Its restoration and renovation as part of the new consolidated courthouse will preserve its stature in the community for many years to come,” Gerretsen said.

LAO TARIFF TO RISE
Private bar lawyers who do legal aid work will get a five-per-cent tariff increase starting April 1, Legal Aid Ontario announced.

The changes are in accordance with a January 2010 memorandum of understanding signed by the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and the Ministry of the Attorney General.

All Tier 1 private bar lawyers except those in northern Ontario will see their rate increase to $104 from $99 per hour. For Tier 2 lawyers, the new rate is $117 an hour with the tariff for Tier 3 lawyers increasing to $130 from $124 an hour. Lawyers doing complex criminal cases will see their rate jump to $149 an hour.

Northern Ontario lawyers will also see an increase in their rates. Tier 1 lawyers in northern Ontario will now get $114 per hour, an increase from $109. For Tier 2 lawyers, the new rate is $128 an hour with Tier 3 lawyers getting $143. Those who do complex criminal cases in northern Ontario will earn $164 an hour, an increase from $156.

JAMES MORTON JOINS COOLEY BOARD
Toronto litigator James Morton has joined the board of directors of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Morton joins the board along with Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman. Morton, who heads the litigation group at Steinberg Morton Hope & Israel LLP, has been a long-standing adjunct professor at the U.S. law school.

“I could not be more proud to welcome Justice Markman and Professor Morton to the Cooley board,” said Cooley president and dean Don LeDuc.

“These distinguished gentlemen bring intellect, character, academic excellence, professional expertise, and decades of public service to Cooley. They understand how providing high quality, practical legal education is important to both the legal profession and to society as a whole. They will set a fine example for Cooley’s students, who will benefit greatly from the perspectives they will bring to our school.”

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

According to the poll, 68 per cent of participants don’t believe the Law Society of Upper Canada should allow other law schools to follow Lakehead University’s approach of having graduates qualify for entry to the profession based on three years of study.

Lakehead’s new law school will produce graduates who can enter practice without articling or doing the law practice program. Recent commentary in Law Times has featured a debate on whether the law society should allow other law schools to follow Lakehead’s lead. Some critics suggest that would be a detriment to legal education while others say the profession should embrace Lakehead’s innovative approach.

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