Ethics, judges and mediation

Ethics, judges and mediation

By Cristin Schmitz

September 02 2011 issue, Lawyers Weekly

As part of a planned update of its ethical guidelines, the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) is poised to examine the thorny questions of whether, when and how judges may appropriately do court-based mediation, The Lawyers Weekly has learned.

For the full story in the Lawyers Weekly, click HERE.

Report from Common Law Degree Implementation Committee

The Common Law Degree Implementation Committee has issued its final report, the full text can be found if you click HERE.

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Common Law Degree Implementation Committee (the “Committee”) is pleased to provide this final report to the Council of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (the “Federation”). In accordance with its mandate, the Committee has developed a proposal to implement the uniform national requirement (the “national requirement”) for entry to law society admission programs in Canadian common law jurisdictions.

Of particular interest to those teaching legal ethics and professionalism, are the recommendations in relation to the mandatory course. Continue reading

Good Character: Can a person change?

Decision from the Law Society of Upper Canada on Good Character.

Can a person who falls from a place of privilege through his deliberate breach of the public trust be redeemed, or is that person destined to repeat his misdeeds because of an innate character flaw?  Reasonable people may differ in their answer to this question depending on their view of human nature, but our jurisprudence on good character applications starts from the premise than an individual can change for the good, even an individual who has in the past admitted to reprehensible conduct involving breach of the public trust.  If such an individual establishes that, more likely than not, she or he is presently a person of good character, our jurisprudence compels the hearing panel to grant her or his application for a Class L1 licence.

For the full decision, click Good Character – Reasons for Decision – August 19 2011 (2).

Unauthorized practice and access to justice

Great post by Alice Woolley on how regulating the unauthorized practice of law may lead to injustice on  From the introduction:

Unauthorized practice and access to justice

Written by: Alice Woolley

Case considered: Lameman v Alberta, 2011 ABQB 396

The Beaver Lake Cree Nation have commenced an action against the federal and provincial Crowns claiming that their treaty rights have been infringed by the Crown “taking up so much of their traditional territory that [they] have no meaningful right to hunt, trap or fish” (Lameman v Alberta, 2011 ABQB 396, para 12). The Crown brought applications to strike the Nation’s actions, the hearings in respect of which were adjourned on the basis of the Nation’s impecuniosity.

The full post is available at and accessed if you click HERE.

Governor General of Canada: Speech to the Canadian Bar Association 2011

His Excellency the Right Honorable David Johnston has posted his inspiring speech for the Canadian Bar Association’s Canadian Legal Conference in Halifax, dated Sunday, August 14, 2011.

From his speech:

How can we use Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017 to re-evaluate and update our professional responsibility? Can we craft a new definition of the legal professional?

To answer these questions, let me suggest six key relationships that may help us in our search. Each of them contains some friction, and I will dwell mainly on those instances—sometimes as stories—in the hope of being a catalyst for the good. Remember, the oyster requires the irritation of a grain of sand to produce a pearl.

Here are the six: as lawyers, we must attend to our relationships with justice, trust, education, social need, the firm and public service.

For the full text of his speech, go to the website by clicking HERE.

For the The Globe and Mail editorial on “David Johnston’s welcome words to lawyers”, published Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011 7:30PM EDT, click HERE.

For a response from Ian Holloway on titled, “A New Concord Between Bar and Academy? The Governor General’s Speech to the Canadian Bar Association” click HERE