B.C. lawyer fined $1,500 for outburst at Ontario colleague

Written by Michael McKiernan

Posted Date: January 18, 2012

A B.C. lawyer who launched a verbal attack on an Ontario counterpart for sending demand letters to the parents of alleged shoplifters has been fined $1,500 for his outburst by the Law Society of British Columbia.

Gerry Laarakker, a sole practitioner in Vernon, B.C., went on the offensive after a client came to him with a $500 demand letter from Toronto lawyer Patrick Martin, writing on behalf of the Hudson’s Bay Co.

For the full article, click HERE.

Professor Alice Woolley, University of Calgary, posted an excellent discussion of the ethical issues raised by the case to ABLawg on November 3, 2011, titled “Lawyers regulating lawyers?”

Decision Considered: Law Society of British Columbia v Laarakker Law Society of British Columbia Disciplinary Hearing Reports, September 21, 2011


A disciplinary decision by the Law Society of British Columbia does not fall within the usual mandate of ABlawg. It is not an Alberta decision, nor even a judicial one, and has no direct precedential significance for Alberta lawyers or courts. The decision warrants comment, however, because the threat it creates to the legitimacy of lawyer self-regulation applies to all Canadian law societies. Specifically, the misdirection in regulatory energy reflected by the decision of the Law Society of British Columbia in this case is something to which all Canadian law societies have shown themselves to be susceptible.

For the full discussion, click HERE.

Richard Devlin – Cultural Competency

Richard Devlin, Schulich School of Law, has posted a very interesting post on the Law Times Speaker’s Corner pages on the importance of cultural competence.   From the website:

Speaker’s Corner: Time to train lawyers on cultural competence

Monday, January 16, 2012 | Written by Richard Devlin

It’s axiomatic that legal professionals must be competent. But is it also axiomatic that lawyers must be culturally competent? A recent case from the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal suggests that it might be.

In June 2008, Antoine Fraser was charged with sexually touching a young person contrary to s. 151(a) of the Criminal Code. Fraser was a teacher and the complainant a student.

Fraser retained a very senior lawyer, Lance Scaravelli, to defend him. Fraser was convicted after a trial by judge and jury. He received a sentence of nine months in jail followed by one year of probation and 50 hours of community service.

On appeal, in a direct and hard-hitting decision, Justice Jamie Saunders, writing for a unanimous court, overturned the conviction on the basis that Scaravelli’s legal advice and representation were ineffective.

For the full article online, click HERE.

Alice Woolley: Intuition and Theory in Legal Ethics Teaching

Intuition and Theory in Legal Ethics Teaching

Alice Woolley, University of Calgar

University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Forthcoming


Ethical decision-making requires normatively grounded intuitions. Lawyers making ethical decisions must be able to perceive an ethical dilemma, to determine the appropriate response to the dilemma and to put that response into action. Doing so requires normative commitments to what being an ethical lawyer requires but also, and more importantly, it requires the ability to respond to ethical dilemmas intuitively, as a matter of sense and perception. Continue reading

Businessman files complaint about judge

From the Ottawa Citizen online: Don Powell alleges Federal Court justice had undisclosed conflict of interest, should have recused himself

By Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen December 4, 2011

An Ottawa businessman who sued the federal government after his company lost a $428-million contract has filed a complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council against the Federal Court judge who dismissed the lawsuit in September.

The complaint, made in October by Don Powell, president of TPG Technology, alleges that Justice David Near had an undisclosed conflict of interest and should have recused himself from the case, adding: “The facts in this case may be unprecedented in Canadian history.”

For the full story found on the Ottawa Citizen website, click HERE.

Prominent law firm ‘undermined’ Tepper proceedings

From the CBC website: Judge orders Gilbert, McGloan, Gillis to pay legal fees

By Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon CBC News

Posted: Dec 2, 2011 8:01 PM AT

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2011 10:09 PM AT

A high-profile New Brunswick law firm has been accused by a judge of misconduct and misleading the court in creditor protection proceedings involving the companies owned by the family of Henk Tepper, the potato farmer who’s been in a Beirut jail since March.

For the full CBC story, click HERE.

Report on Conflicts of Interest from Standing Committee on the Model Code of Professional Conduct


1. The Standing Committee on the Model Code of Professional Conduct (the “Standing  Committee”)  was established by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada in September 2010 in recognition of the fact that the Model Code of Professional Conduct (the  “Model  Code”)  must evolve over time in response to changes in the law and changes made by individual law societies as they implement the Model Code.

For the English version of the report, click Report to Council – Standing Committee – Conflicts – November 2011.

For the French version of the report, click Rapport sur les conflits d’intérêts novembre 2011

Plagiarizing B.C. judge prompts new trial

From the CBC news website

osted: Apr 14, 2011 5:05 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 14, 2011 5:25 PM PT

A B.C. woman who was awarded millions of dollars to help care for her brain-damaged son will have to go back to court to try to get the money because the judge in the lawsuit plagiarized most of his decision, a higher court has ruled.

For the full story, click HERE.

Wallace v Canadian Pacific Railway 2011 SKCA 108

From the judgment written by  Ottenbreit J.A.

I. Introduction

[1] On December 17, 2008, McKercher LLP (“McKercher”) commenced a class action on behalf of Gordon Wallace (“Wallace”), as representative plaintiff, against Canadian National Railway (“CN”), the Canadian Pacific Railway and several other defendants (“the Wallace claim”) alleging the railways had overcharged western farmers for grain transportation during the previous 25 years and claiming damages, including aggravated and punitive damages. This matter comes before us because, at the time it commenced the Wallace claim, McKercher was acting for CN on a number of other unrelated matters. Continue reading

Annalise Acorn: Jumping Ship: R v Cunningham and the Lawyer’s Right to Withdraw

Annalise Acorn’s case comment on the Supreme Court’s decision in R v Cunningham on the lawyer’s right to withdraw came out recently.  From the introduction:

1  It has never been in the best traditions of the criminal bar to quit a client over money. Having gone on the record as counsel for an accused, the lawyer is, as a matter of professional dignity, expected to have sorted out financial matters with the client in advance, and it is seen as unseemly for the lawyer to abandon the client over non-payment. Some Canadian codes of conduct clearly prohibit the criminal defence lawyer from withdrawing due to non-payment of fees where withdrawal would potentially prejudice the client.1 Other codes make it clear that such withdrawal is frowned upon.2 Continue reading