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Monday, September 14, 2015


The Law Society Tribunal has dismissed a lawyer’s appeal of her disbarment in a mortgage fraud case.

On Aug. 31, the appeal division considered Thelma Pushparanee Williams’ appeal of the hearing panel’s misconduct findings against her last year. In particular, she challenged the finding of knowing participation in fraud in relation to one property and argued the appropriate penalty was a one-year suspension followed by two years of supervised practice.

But in its ruling last month, the appeal division found there was “ample evidence” for the hearing panel to make a finding that Williams had knowingly participated in fraud through recklessness.

It also upheld the penalty of disbarment. “The presumptive penalty for knowing participation in mortgage fraud is revocation, and the hearing panel’s determination that there were no exceptional circumstances in this case that would justify a departure from revocation is a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence before it,” wrote Christopher Bredt for the appeal panel.


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

According to the poll, 56 per cent of respondents think large legal organizations such as the Canadian Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Association remain relevant to them.

The poll follows the CBA’s emphasis at its recent conference in Calgary on its Rethink efforts aimed at making the organization more relevant to lawyers.

And in assuming the presidency of the OBA recently, Ed Upenieks told Law Times that ensuring the relevance of his organization is a key priority for him as well.

While the majority of respondents said the organizations remain relevant to them, 44 per cent said they see more value in niche associations.    


A week after winning the NDP nomination for Ottawa-Vanier, former federal prosecutor Emilie Taman was in Federal Court this month asking for a judicial review of the Public Service Commission of Canada’s decision this summer to fire her.

According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen, Taman’s lawyer asked the court to strike down the commission’s decision on the grounds that it “failed to balance her obligations to be a loyal and impartial public servant with her constitutional right to seek public office.”

In early July, Taman vacated her office, beginning what she called “an unauthorized leave of absence” to enter the contest for Ottawa-Vanier’s NDP nomination.

She had applied for a leave of absence last year, but the commission refused, arguing her ability to return to work after the political race would be “impaired or perceived to be impaired.” After receiving a series of warning letters, the government fired Taman weeks after she left her office. “I received I think it was three warning letters, which basically indicated that I was to return to work immediately or face termination for abandonment of position,” she says.

“I followed up by saying I don’t have an intention to abandon my position, and could you please just wait until my judicial review hearing?”

But the commission, she says, replied that “despite my representations, it had been determined that I had abandoned my position.”

The commission is declining to comment on the case given that it’s currently before the court.

The nomination battle appears to have been a tightly contested one. Although the party doesn’t release the number of votes each person received, the vote, which involved four candidates, went down to the wire with three ballots. “It was a long night,” says Taman.

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Law Times Poll

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?