B Hutchinson: Calgary oil company turned to Chrétien-tied law firm for help before bribing Chadian ambassador

Written by Brian Hutchinson

Posted to the National Post, Jan 28, 2013 2:05 AM ET | Last Updated: Jan 28, 2013 11:10 AM ET

For the original article and related links click HERE

There was nothing subtle about Brad Griffiths, the legendary investment banker who died 18 months ago. He offended people and he drank too much. “He had demons, but he was the smartest guy on Bay Street,” says a former associate in Toronto. “Everyone wanted him for his brain.”

Mr. Griffiths tumbled out of a boat near his Muskoka cottage and drowned, just as a new management team was taking charge of a private oil and gas company he had built. It made discoveries that led to a corruption charge against the company, a guilty plea, and a record $10.3-million fine imposed in a Calgary courtroom Friday. Continue reading

A Woolley: The Legality of Legal Advising

Posted to ABLawg  on January 25, 2013 by Alice Woolley

For the webpage and PDF of the post, click HERE

Matter considered: Edgar Schmidt v Canada (Attorney General) Federal Court File #T-2225-12


On December 13, 2012 Edgar Schmidt, a Department of Justice lawyer, filed a Statement of Claim in Federal Court naming the federal Attorney General as Defendant. The Statement of Claim alleges that the Minister of Justice and the Deputy Minister of Justice have violated their obligations under various pieces of legislation that impose duties on the Minister of Justice to examine proposed legislation to determine if it is “inconsistent with the purposes and provisions” of the Canadian Bill of Rights or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and to advise the House of Commons if it is so (see in particular: section 3 of the Canadian Bill of Rights, SC 1960, c 44; section 4.1 of theDepartment of Justice Act, RSC 1985 c J-2; section 3(2) and (3) of the Statutory Instruments Act, RSC 1985 c S-22). Continue reading

J McNish, C Tait and K Cryderman: Bay Street law firms advised Griffiths on Chad deal

Jacquie McNish, Carrie Tait, and Kelly Cryderman

TORONTO and CALGARY — The Globe and Mail – posted HERE

Published Saturday, Jan. 26 2013, 8:00 AM EST; Last Updated again Jan 28, 2013

Prominent Canadian law firms Heenan Blaikie and Macleod Dixon provided legal services in connection with a $2-million payment by Griffiths Energy International Inc. to the wife of an African diplomat, a transaction that led the company to pay a $10.35-million fine in a bribery case this week.

According to people familiar with the case, the junior oil and gas company turned to the blue chip corporate law firms to help guide it in the late 2000s through a series of difficult negotiations with officials from Chad, which ranks as one of the world’s most corrupt countries. When a new slate of Griffiths executives uncovered the $2-million (U.S.) bribe in 2011, it alerted police, sparking an investigation that culminated this week in a settlement agreement and fine that a Calgary judge on Friday called “an embarrassment to all Canadians.” Continue reading

S Fodden: Documents in the Edgar Schmidt Whistleblower Case

Simon Fodden

Posted on Slaw website HERE on January 23, 2013

As most everyone will know, the story broke last week that lawyer Edgar Schmidt is suing the federal Attorney General because of a practice within the Department of Justice, where he is employed, that too easily finds legislation passing the Charter “sniff” test. Two documents in that case are available on Slaw via the links below. Continue reading

B Curry: Judge raps Justice officials for treatment of whistle-blower


OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013, 6:00 AM EST; Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013, 6:24 PM EST

Ottawa is crafting legislation that risks running afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms without informing Parliament, a federal lawyer charges.

In a highly unusual case, Department of Justice lawyer Edgar Schmidt is challenging his own department in Federal Court and revealing details about the internal guidelines used by federal lawyers. The department accuses Mr. Schmidt of violating his duties as a lawyer and public servant and has suspended him without pay. Continue reading

A Salyzyn: A Comparative Study of Attorney Responsibility for Fees of an Opposing Party

(2012) 3 St. John’s Journal of International and Comparative Law (Forthcoming)

Abstract: This paper compares the American practice of requiring an attorney to pay personally the fees of an opposing party where the attorney has been found to improperly conducted himself or herself to analogous practices in two other common law jurisdictions, England and Canada. Continue reading

Rueter Scargall Bennett LLP Essay Prize in Legal Ethics

Please circulate and encourage students to apply.

Print Version

The Chief Justice of Ontario’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism, with membership spanning from across the Bench and the Bar, the Law Society and the Academy, focuses on a number of initiatives to support the teaching of professionalism in our law schools and throughout the profession.

As part of this effort, the Committee established an annual award in 2010, sponsored by the law firm of Rueter Scargall Bennett LLP, to encourage law students to think and write about the legal profession and acknowledge the best student papers on any subject relating to legal ethics and professionalism.

The prize is awarded annually by the Chief Justice of Ontario’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism to three law students registered in a JD or LLB program at a law school in Ontario for the best previously unpublished papers on any topic relating to legal ethics and professionalism.

Papers must be at least 2,000 and not more than 6,000 words inclusive of footnotes or endnotes. Submissions must be in a Microsoft Word compatible format. The applicant’s name and university should be noted on the front page of the essay, but must not be shown on any other pages of the essay.

The author of the best paper will be awarded $3,000. The authors of the other two award winning papers will each be awarded $1,000. The first-prize paper will be published in a suitable venue. Additionally, all winners will be invited to a dinner with the Chief Justice of Ontario and the Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Papers for the 2013 award should be submitted by email to Jacob Bakan in the Office of the Chief Justice of Ontario [at jacob.bakan at ontario.ca] no later than February 28, 2013. The awards will be announced following the end of the 2012-2013 academic year.


S.G.A. Pitel & W. Bortolin: Revising Canada’s Ethical Rules for Judges Returning to Practice

Judges and ethics have been in the news a lot lately.

Slaw posted an excerpt from the Pitel and Bortolin article “Revising Canada’s Ethical Rules for Judges Returning to Practice” as the Thursday Thinkpiece on January 10, 2013, at Slaw.ca.

The full article can be found on SSRN if you click HERE, in in print (2011) 34 Dalhousie Law Journal 483 Excerpt: pp. 515-520

It has recently become more common for retired Canadian judges to return to the practice of law. This development raises an array of ethical considerations and potential threats to the integrity of the administration of justice. Although most codes of legal ethics contemplate the possibility of former judges returning to practice, the rules on this particular topic are dated, under-analyzed, and generally inadequate. This article reviews the Canadian ethical rules that specifically relate to former judges and identifies their shortcomings. In doing so, the authors consider, for comparative purposes, Canadian ethical rules directed at former public officers who return to practice and American rules directed at former judges. These rules have been developed in a different context, but involve many of the same issues and are more comprehensive. Following this analysis, the authors propose a series of new rules for judges who return to practice. These rules are not intended as the final word on the subject, but rather as starting points for further discussion of the issues involved. They illustrate the competing considerations with which law societies need to grapple as more judges return to practice.

Legal Ethics Volume 15, Number 2, December 2012

The new edition of the journal Legal Ethics (Hart Publishing) has now been published is available for order if you click HERE

Comparative Studies of Lawyer Deviance and Discipline

There is a fair bit of Canadian content including:

  • An article by Alice Woolley (Calgary) titled “Regulation in Practice: The ‘Ethical Economy’ of Lawyer Regulation in Canada and a Case Study in Lawyer Deviance”
  • A report on the ILEC V Conference by Alice Woolley and Richard Devlin, co-chairs of the conference, titled “Merging Worlds, Emerging Discourses”
  • The Correspondent’s Report from Canada by Amy Salyzyn (Yale SJD) available for free if you click HERE.
  • And a Book Review by Alice Woolley, “Crime and Guilt”