LSUC sends ‘unhappy message’ with Groia ruling: Cherniak

From Legal Feeds

Written by Glenn Kauth

Posted date June 29, 2012

The Law Society of Upper Canada has sent a “very unhappy message to the bar” with its decision finding Joe Groia engaged in professional misconduct, according to his lawyer.

The comment from Earl Cherniak comes as a law society hearing panel ruled on Groia’s actions in the proceedings against former Bre-X Minerals Ltd. vice chairman John Felderhof. It found “Groia’s attacks on the prosecution were unjustified and therefore constituted conduct that fell below the standards of principles of civility, courtesy, and good faith required by the Rules of Professional Conduct.”

For the full story, click HERE.

Bre-X lawyer violated civility rules: law society

Bre-X lawyer violated civility rules: law society

JEFF GRAY Law Reporter

The Globe and Mail

Last updated Thursday, Jun. 28 2012, 7:08 PM EDT

Prominent Bay Street securities lawyer Joe Groia’s courtroom rhetoric during the bitter Bre-X trial more than decade ago amounted to professional misconduct, a Law Society of Upper Canada disciplinary panel has ruled.

Mr. Groia was accused of violating his profession’s rules on civility with his behaviour during the trial of John Felderhof, the geologist at the centre of the Bre-X gold scandal in the 1990s. Mr. Felderhof was acquitted of securities charges.

During the trial, Mr. Groia repeatedly clashed with lawyers for the Ontario Securities Commission, accusing them of trying to railroad his client.

But two judges’ rulings later criticized his use of “sarcasm” and “invective” and even “guerrilla threatre” during the trial. And after a Law Society investigation, Mr. Groia faced a professional discipline hearing.

Mr. Groia’s penalty is to be determined at a future hearing. Under the Law Society’s rules he faces anything from a reprimand to a suspension or the revoking of his licence to practise law.

For the full story, click HERE.

LSUC: Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct

The Law Society is considering amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct as a result of the implementation of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada Model Code of Professional Conduct and is seeking the comments and views of lawyers on the proposed amendments prior to Convocation’s consideration of the proposals. The submission deadline is August 31, 2012.

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada, which is the national coordinating body of Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial law societies, recently approved its Model Code of Professional Conduct (“the Model Code”). The Law Society of Upper Canada’sRules of Professional Conduct (“the Rules”) were used as the basis for the Model Code. Since October 2011, the Law Society’s Professional Regulation Committee has been reviewing the Model Code for the purpose of implementing it in Ontario.

While implementation of the Model Code would result in a series of minor and clarifying changes to the Rules, some of the changes are more substantive and, in certain cases, introduce new standards.

• Information report explaining the more substantive proposed amendments to the Rules
• Appendix 1 – Blackline version of the current Rules showing proposed changes 
• Current Rules of Professional Conduct

Written submissions in response to the call for input should be sent to the Law Society no later than August 31, 2012 to:
Professional Regulation Committee
Model Code Implementation
Policy Secretariat
The Law Society of Upper Canada
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6
or by email to

A Woolley: Lawyers regulating lawyers (redux)?

Lawyers regulating lawyers (redux)?

By Alice Woolley

From: ABlawg

Cases Considered: Law Society of Upper Canada Complaint, Case No. 2012-105128


On November 3, 2011 I wrote a blog on the Law Society of British Columbia’s decision to discipline Gerry Laarakker for unethical conduct (here). Laarakker had written rude things about (and to) a lawyer, M, who had sent a demand letter to Laarakker’s client. The demand letter claimed recovery of $521.97 on the basis that Laarakker’s client’s daughter had shoplifted from M’s client. In my earlier blog I suggested that directing regulatory attention at Laarakker’s incivility was a poor use of the Law Society’s regulatory resources. My argument was that lawyers who send demand letters without a legal basis for the claim made in the letter, and with no intention to pursue the claim in court, act unethically. Law societies do not, however, appear to discipline lawyers for sending improper demand letters. The only real sanction for those lawyers is social shaming and shunning. Disciplining lawyers who are uncivil in response to arguably unethical conduct takes away the only sanction on that behaviour, and may encourage it. Such discipline is, for that reason, problematic.

For the full discussion on ABlawg, click HERE.

A Salyzyn: Opinion: Technology on Trial

Opinion: Technology on Trial

Written by Amy Salyzyn for Precedent Magazine

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Walk into any civil courtroom in this province and you will likely find a space that looks as it would have 50, if not 100, years ago. The usual suspects will be there: a raised judge’s bench, a witness box, a few counsel tables, some seating at the back for the public and maybe a royal coat of arms for good measure. What you won’t see is much technology — save perhaps for the requisite BlackBerrys in the hands of lawyers and a laptop or two. Continue reading

National Admission Standards Project

May 9, 2012
For Immediate Release

On May 9, 2012, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada will be inviting new lawyers and Quebec notaries to participate in a large scale survey on the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to ensure that new members of the profession are competent to practise law. The survey will test the validity of a draft competency profile, a key element of an initiative undertaken on behalf of Canada’s law societies to establish national standards for admission to the legal profession. Continue reading

A Woolley “Mandatory Minimums and Lawyers’ Ethics”

Mandatory Minimums and Lawyers’ Ethics

By Alice Woolley

Statute commented on: Safe Streets and Communities Act, Bill C-10, 60-61 Elizabeth II, Assented to March 13, 2012


[U]nder the newly enacted Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, numerous offences under the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46 and under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, RSC 1995, c 19, are now subject to mandatory minimums when they weren’t before. This raises the question of whether Canadian prosecutors and defence lawyers will be subject to the sort of ethical dangers that have arguably plagued their American counterparts to a greater extent than when relatively fewer Criminal Code offences attracted mandatory minimums.

You can find Alice Woolley’s full discussion in ABlawg if you click HERE.