C Schmitz: Sparks fly over Douglas case resignation

By Cristin Schmitz for the Lawyers Weekly, September 21, 2012, issue:

The abrupt resignation of the Canadian Judicial Council’s independent counsel could be challenged in Federal Court, says counsel for the complainant at the Douglas Inquiry.

Complainant Alex Chapman’s counsel, Rocco Galati of Toronto’s Galati Rodrigues, queried how independent counsel Guy Pratte could quit his duties to present evidence at the Canadian Judicial Council’s inquiry examining misconduct allegations against a Manitoba judge, without first obtaining permission to withdraw from the inquiry committee.

“No lawyer in any court can get off the record without a motion, and I may take steps to clarify that myself for my client in the Federal Court,” Galati told The Lawyers Weekly. “I doubt that independent counsel can simply resign on their own decision — ​​they need leave of the [inquiry] committee. If any independent counsel who takes a retainer can just resign, well then it makes a mockery of this process.”

The inquiry committee, chaired by Alberta Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, is deemed by the Judges Act to be a superior court.

For the full story on the Lawyers Weekly website, click HERE.

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