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Monday, September 28, 2009


Windsor’s Ontario Court of Justice is welcoming a pair of new faces to the bench.

Justice Mitch Hoffman, a former assistant Crown attorney for Essex County, was called to the bar in 1989. He spent time as a bilingual designate, child abuse designate, and hate-crimes designate while working for the Crown.

Hoffman also served as the acting Crown attorney for both Bruce County and Haldimand County and was the regional Crown liaison for the provincial joint forces Biker Enforcement Unit.

Justice Barry Tobin was a family law and civil litigation practitioner who was called to the bar in 1979. He was a partner with Marcus Tobin until 2002, at which time he moved on to practise with Brown Beattie and O’Donovan LLP.

Tobin worked on behalf of clients at all levels of the Ontario courts and has experience representing parties in negotiations and litigation.


Toronto has a new case management master as Robert Muir moves into the role for the Superior Court of Justice.

Muir was called to the bar in 1990 and has practised commercial litigation with a concentration on construction-related matters such as the design and financing of projects, negotiation of contracts, litigation, and dispute resolution.

Muir has also acted on insolvency matters and on behalf of mortgage lenders and other financial institutions.


Highly respected Ottawa lawyer John Nelligan was honoured last week as he marked 60 years since his call to the bar in 1949.

The Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP founding partner has made significant contributions throughout his career and last year served on the Canadian Judicial Council’s Cosgrove inquiry panel.

Nelligan is known as “Ottawa’s Perry Mason,” gaining a strong reputation for his humility, wily courtroom presence, and exceptional negotiation skills, his firm said.

“Even in the most acrimonious cases, John’s civility remains at the forefront,” said Nelligan O’Brien Payne managing partner Allan O’Brien.

Nelligan received the Law Society Medal in 1991, the Laidlaw Medal for Excellence in Advocacy in 1994, and the Advocates’ Society Medal in 1995.


Ottawa has pledged to renew York University’s Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication, and Culture, a move that will allow professor Rosemary Coombe to continue her groundbreaking work in the field of socio-legal studies.

“This CRC renewal provides opportunities for professor Coombe to further develop her leading research in the social and cultural impact of emerging global intellectual and cultural property laws,” said York’s vice president of research and innovation, Stan Shapson.

“The CRC program allows York to keep building on its research strengths and graduate training in niche social-science areas such as law and society.”

The announcement comes as part of the government’s nearly $160-million investment to fund 181 Canada Research Chair positions.

“The Canada Research Chairs program helps attract and retain the best researchers from the country and around the world to Canadian universities, which has direct benefits for our communities,” said Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear.

Coombe, who is part of the university’s Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, is an internationally known scholar and leader in the field of interdisciplinary approaches to intellectual property.


Western Canada’s top law enforcers are calling on federal MPs and senators to work together to pass legislation aimed at cracking down on organized crime and gangs.

The provincial politicians, including the region’s justice ministers, want the organized crime law, Bill C-14, immediately proclaimed along with a list of other legislation.

They also want federal politicians to prioritize additional reforms that would tackle the use of encryption and non-traceable prepaid cellphones by organized crime; a stronger bail regime in the Criminal Code; and improvements to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

They plan to meet again in late October when they hope to review progress on the matter with the federal government and other provincial and territorial politicians from across Canada.


The recession is taking its toll on British lawyers facing a dramatic fall in their billing rates.

Fees for London’s top commercial lawyers fell by a third last year as competition intensified, the Times has reported. There, partners at the city’s five elite firms billed an average of £450 an hour, down from £675 a year ago.

Banks, the report said, are the hardest bargainers. The downturn has been particularly hard on the largest firms squaring off against their smaller counterparts that offer lower rates but comparable service.

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