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
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.