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Monday, May 30, 2011


Justice Richard Lajoie of the Ontario Court of Justice died on May 18 at the age of 62 after an illness.

Lajoie joined the bench in Timmins, Ont., in 1987 but spent the last eight years as a judge in Ottawa, where he had practised early in his career after his call to the bar in 1974.

“He was a wonderful, congenial, calm presence, a very steady, compassionate man who was just a wonderful friend and person to share chambers with,” Justice Judith Beaman, regional senior judge for the east region, told the Ottawa Citizen.

Lajoie’s October 2010 judgment in the Stacy Bonds case made headlines after he described her treatment in a police cell as a “travesty.” In staying proceedings against Bonds, his ruling sparked a public debate on abuse by police.


Bay Street business executive band Men in Suits is performing at Toronto’s Orbit Room in aid of Human Rights Watch.

The Rock For Rights gig takes place on June 2 at 580A College St. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the first set to start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and will be on sale at the door.

They’re also available in advance by contacting Alison Thornton at 416-322-8448 or


A Mississauga, Ont., lawyer who claimed the Law Society of Upper Canada harassed and discriminated against him has been suspended for two months after a panel found he had failed to serve two clients in wrongful dismissal litigation.  

A panel found Ravinder Sawhney spent “unnecessary and excessive” amounts of time on preparation and charged fees that were “not fair or reasonable” to the two clients.

Sawhney, a lawyer of South Asian descent, told Law Times he never intended his clients would pay the fees but anticipated the employer in the case would pick up the bill.

He had earlier attempted to halt proceedings with an interim remedy motion at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in which he alleged the law society had failed to investigate white lawyers on the other side of the case at the heart of his troubles.

The panel also ordered Sawhney to pay $27,000 in law society costs within 24 months, although that could increase to $33,000 if he fails to comply with other terms imposed on him.

They include a requirement that he participate in the law society’s practice review program, join the Ontario Bar Association’s civil law section until at least the end of 2013, and report back on his participation there.

He must also attend the law society’s solo and small firm conference in June.


Andrew Wong and Tara Mackay are the newest partners at Torys LLP.

Wong’s tax practice focuses on issues related to domestic, cross-border and international finance, securitization, and mergers and acquisitions. He advises a variety of companies in the financial services, media, technology, industrial, and resource sectors.

Mackay’s corporate-commercial practice has a particular emphasis on public-private partnerships and alternative financing and procurement projects.

She represents public authorities, private-sector proponents, construction contractors, service providers, and lenders in the implementation of public infrastructure projects.


The University of Windsor has announced that it will award an honorary doctor of civil laws degree to Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Robert Sharpe during its spring convocation ceremony on June 17.

Sharpe has served on the appeal court bench since 1999 after four years as a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice. Before that, Sharpe was dean of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law between 1990 and 1995.

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The Law Society of Ontario is in the midst of a major overhaul of the role of paralegals in family law — and a proposal on the issue could become an imminent issue for the regulator’s newly elected benchers. Do you agree with widening the scope of family law matters that paralegals can address?