Monday, March 30, 2015

There’s now a boardroom at the Ontario Court of Appeal dedicated to the current and former associate chief justices.

The court invited retired associate chief justices John Morden, Coulter Osborne, and Dennis O’Connor to the opening of the newly dedicated boardroom on March 20.

The dedication honours “the substantial contribution these individuals have made and continue to make to the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the administration of justice in Ontario,” said Jacob Bakan, special counsel for the office of the chief justice.

There have been five associate chief justices in Ontario, according to Bakan. “In establishing this position, the governments of Canada and Ontario recognized the need for an associate chief justice to assist with the considerable administrative responsibilities associated with operating Canada’s busiest appellate court. Ontario remains the only province in Canada to have an associate chief justice at the appellate level.”

The clock has run out for the Law Society of Upper Canada to appeal a second ruling that exonerated two Torys LLP lawyers in a conflict of interest case that went on for several years.

The law society prosecuted Darren Sukonick and Beth DeMerchant for conflict of interest related to the sale of the Hollinger group of companies between 2000 and 2003.

But in October 2013, a law society hearing panel found there was no evidence to find the pair guilty of professional misconduct. In February, the Law Society Tribunal dismissed the regulator’s appeal of that decision.

March 20, the deadline to appeal the second ruling, came and went without a notice of appeal from the law society.

Former Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP lawyer Mitchell Finkelstein violated securities laws when he tipped his friend about impending corporate deals, the Ontario Securities Commission has found.

An OSC panel found against Finkelstein for insider tipping in three of the six transactions put before it. Paul Azeff, an investment adviser with CIBC and a good friend of Finkelstein’s, was on the receiving end of those tips.

In a ruling last week, the OSC relied partly on dozens of unexplained phone calls between Azeff and Finkelstein each year as well as 190 calls placed between them in 2007.

“We conclude that Finkelstein informed Azeff, between November 16 and 19 [2004], at least, that [Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.] had agreed to proceed quickly with a takeover transaction to which [Masonite International Corp.] acquiesced. Although it is not necessary to establish tipping, we also find that Finkelstein told Azeff of the pricing and structure of the transaction,” the OSC panel said in reference to one transaction in its ruling last week.

The panel also questioned Finkelstein’s manner of giving evidence, saying it “lacked spontaneity and was well-rehearsed.”

“He left the impression that his evidence was tightly controlled. The substance of his testimony ignored or touched lightly upon important elements that needed explanation.
He spoke very little of his relationship and communications with Azeff in the relevant period from 2004-2007,” the panel said.

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

According to the poll, 63 per cent of respondents say they’re not happy with the civil court facilities in their area.
A recent Law Times story noted some lawyers’ concerns about the court facilities for civil cases at 393 University Ave. in Toronto with one of them calling them a “disgusting hole.”

The Ministry of the Attorney General says the province has spent more than $3.6 million at the building, including “projects to improve accessibility, security, and program and public counter space.”

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