Ontario Civil

Contempt of Court

Documentation showed negligence on part of lawyer but not deliberate or intentional

Show cause hearing determining whether or not lawyer should be found in contempt of court. Lawyer was counsel for someone charged with sexual assault. Matter was set for full day preliminary inquiry. Lawyer nor his client appeared. Lawyer had history of mismanaging his court schedule. Lawyer was advised that he would be required to attend before court and show cause as to why he should not be held in contempt. Lawyer was not found to be in contempt. Evidence did not establish basis for contempt finding. Both testimony and documentation showed great deal of disorganization and confusion, inattention to obligations to both court and client, and negligence on part of lawyer. However, documentation did not support any inference that conduct was deliberate or intentional.

R. v. Watkins

(June 26, 2012, Ont. C.J., McKay J.) 218 A.C.W.S. (3d) 74 (6 pp.).

cover image


Subscribers get early and easy access to Law Times.

Law Times Poll

Law Times reports that there is no explicit rule that lawyers in Ontario must be competent in the use of technology. Do you think there should be explicit rules spelling out the expectations of lawyers’ in terms of tech use in their practice?