Monday, March 9, 2009

Canada needs to improve the efficiency of cross-border litigation if it hopes to remain competitive in the global market, concludes a new Law Commission of Ontario consultation paper.

“The input received from those working in the area of cross-border litigation both in Canada and elsewhere will be key to ensuring that the recommendations are sound and that they will meet the current needs of those most affected,” said LCO executive director Patricia Hughes, in a release.

The consultation paper was prepared by the LCO in consultation with Osgoode Hall Law School professor and LCO scholar-in-residence Janet Walker.

Walker worked with a group of private international law specialists from across Canada in compiling her report. The paper ponders provisions for a new statute that would define when courts should accept or decline jurisdiction in cross-border cases.

Walker finds that globalization has led to a rise in cross-border cases, but uncertainty over jurisdictional laws means many potential litigants are shut out of the court system due to the high cost of arguing such matters.

The LCO has included a set of consultation questions in the report, and is looking for responses by April 13. The paper is available online at

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has beefed up its national tax litigation group with the addition of David Spiro as counsel at the Toronto office.

“We are pleased David is joining our team,” said the firm’s Toronto managing partner Chris Pinnington, in a release. “His proven track record in tax matters will be of great benefit to our firm and most importantly our clients.

David will broaden our already established tax litigation group, and will help position our firm to meet the challenges 2009 will likely bring. We are committed to providing our clients with trusted counsel with all the expertise to meet their changing needs, especially in the current economic circumstances.”

Spiro is known for his work on tax litigation and dispute resolution, and will give clients advice on all tax-related matters, said the firm.

Bill Rowley has withdrawn from the equity partnership at McMillan LLP and will be replaced by Neil Campbell atop the firm’s competition practice.

McMillan issued a release stating that Rowley will serve as chairman emeritus and special counsel to the firm, and will continue to work with the firm as a strategic adviseor. He also will keep up his practice in international arbitration at 20 Essex Street Chambers.

“During his tenure at McMillan, Bill led the development of one of Canada’s top competition law practices,” said the firm.

Campbell’s practice focuses on a wide spectrum of competition matters, including merger clearances, cartel defence, and unilateral conduct.

Dimock Stratton LLP partner Ron Dimock has become a fellow of one of the premier legal associations on the continent.

The firm recently announced that, at a meeting of the American College of Trial Lawyers in Puerto Rico, Dimock was inducted by the prestigious institution.

Dimock has 33 years of practise experience, and is a certified specialist in civil litigation and intellectual property. He has acted as counsel on some of the top IP cases at the Supreme Court of Canada, such as Whirlpool v. Camco & GE in the patents area, Kirkbi (Lego) v. Ritvik (Mega Bloks) in trademarks, and Robertson v. Thomson Publishing in copyright.

The Law Foundation of Ontario will now offer 10 linguistic and rural access to justice articling fellowships, which will fund articling positions for community legal clinics and Legal Aid Ontario to give legal information and services to linguistic minorities and residents of rural and remote areas.

The move is a response to a recently released LCO report that noted significant barriers to accessing legal services for people who don’t speak English or French and those living in rural and remote areas.
More information on the fellowships is available online at

National law firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has announced the creation of the Fasken Martineau Excellence Fund at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, a $350,000 donation to foster student achievement and research at the school, said the firm.

“The fund has two goals, both of which will serve to support individual students at McGill, and not just the institution itself,” said the firm’s Quebec managing partner Claude Auger, in a release.

“We believe in promoting McGill by funding its intellectual capital. The fund will reward scholastic achievement and promote scholarly research by students enrolled in the joint BCL-LLB program.”

The three components of the fund includes a $7,500 endowment for students with distinguished scholastic records, financial help for research projects, and money for a scholarly journal.

Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP has added three new partners to its Montreal Ooffice, welcoming aboard Yvon Martineau, Real Forest, and Claude Marseille, all of whom were plucked from Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.

“The decisions of these three partners to join Blakes represent a major step forward in the expansion of our Montreal office and will enhance our expertise in a number of key areas, including mergers and acquisitions

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