S Fine: The new face of judicial defiance


KITCHENER, ONT. — The Globe and Mail

PublishedFriday, Dec. 13 2013, 10:46 PM EST

Last updatedFriday, Dec. 13 2013, 10:46 PM EST

Justice Colin Westman still remembers when, as a young lawyer who had barely outgrown a pampered childhood in Shawinigan, Que., he first read the pre-sentence reports that contain the life stories of convicted men and women.

“It was like fiction,” the 70-year-old father of two tells a reporter in his Kitchener, Ont., office during a morning break from court. “I couldn’t believe the tragic backgrounds of some of these people. From the day they were born, they were behind the eight-ball.”

Today, after more than two decades of seeing a steady procession of those people, whom he calls broken souls, in his courtroom, Justice Westman has become one of many in several provinces defying the spirit, and sometimes the letter, of the Conservative government’s tough-on-crime agenda. Continue reading

R Mendleson: Javad Heydary case prompts questions about law society’s policy of secrecy

Rachel Mendleson

Toronto Star, published December 16, 2013

Embattled Toronto lawyer Javad Heydary has never before faced disciplinary action from the Law Society of Upper Canada, but it is impossible to know whether he has been the subject of previous investigations, because the regulator does not disclose that information.

That would not be the case if Heydary, who fled the country in November amid allegations that more than $3 million in trust funds was missing, had practised in Oregon. In that state, a list of every complaint lodged against lawyers, subsequent investigations and the outcome of those probes is only a phone call away for clients, journalists or anyone else who wants to know.

For the complete story on the Toronto Star website, click HERE.

Continue reading

K Arnott: Panel halves suspension in Groia appeal

From the Lawyers Weekly

By Kim Arnott

December 20 2013 issue

While upholding a finding of professional misconduct against Toronto lawyer Joseph Groia, a Law Society of Upper Canada appeal panel has halved the two-month practice suspension previously imposed on him for uncivil courtroom behaviour during an acrimonious trial more than a decade ago.

Citing errors by the disciplinary hearing panel that found Groia had breached the Rules of Professional Conduct, the appeal panel reduced the suspension of the securities lawyer to one month. It also set aside an order for him to pay $246,960.53 in costs, and opened the issue to submissions on whether the errors justify a lower bill.

For the full story on the Lawyers Weekly website, click HERE Continue reading

LSBC – Joint Task Force on Future of Legal Services Regulation

Important news from LSBC News Releases – December 9, 2013

Law Society governors approve joint task force recommendations on the future of legal service regulation

For the LSBC website, click HERE

Vancouver – At their December meeting, the Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia unanimously approved in principle three recommendations that could transform the regulation and delivery of legal services in BC.

These recommendations are the culmination of many years of review capped by a year consulting and studying the question of whether various legal service providers, including lawyers, notaries public and paralegals, should be brought under one regulatory umbrella. The Legal Service Providers Task Force presented its final report on December 6, 2013.

The Benchers approved the following task force recommendations:

  • The Law Society and the Society of Notaries Public of British      Columbia seek to merge regulatory operations.
  • That a program be created by which the legal regulator provide      paralegals who have met specific, prescribed education and/or training      standards with a certificate that would allow them to be held out as “certified      paralegals.”
  • That      the Law Society develop a regulatory framework by which other providers of      legal services could provide credentialed and regulated legal services in      the public interest.

While details of the proposals will need to be developed in consultation with the notaries, government and others, task force Chair Bruce LeRose, QC said approving the recommendations in principle was an important first step. “Access to justice is slipping out of reach for many British Columbians,” said LeRose. “It is critical that the Law Society look for ways to reverse that trend, and these ideas could be a big part of that.”

Law Society President Art Vertlieb, QC called the Benchers’ unanimous support for the motion a “watershed moment in the Law Society’s history.”

The task force’s final report is available here. The Law Society’s previous news release about the task force is available on the website.

The members of the task force are past Law Society president Bruce LeRose, QC (chair); current governors Ken Walker, QC (vice-chair) and Satwinder Bains; Godfrey Archbold, president of the Land Title Survey Authority; John Eastwood, past president of the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia; Carmen Marolla, vice-president of the British Columbia Paralegal Association; and Kerry Simmons, past president of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch.


“It is encouraging to see our justice partners work together to transform the regulation and delivery of legal services to the citizens of our province. The Law Society has shown tremendous leadership and the recommendations made today signal that progress is being made to improving access to justice for British Columbians.” Hon. Suzanne Anton, QC, Attorney General & Minister of Justice

“BC Notaries look forward to working with the Law Society, our members and with the Ministry of Justice in taking the next step to ensure that any merging of regulation continues to offer protection, continued and expanded choice and improved access to legal services for the public.” Wayne Braid, Chief Executive Officer, The Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia

The BC Paralegal Association is extremely pleased with this outcome.  We wish to express our congratulations to the Task Force on an excellent report, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Law Society to develop the criteria for certification for paralegals, and to consider how best to create the regulatory framework to be developed for stand-alone legal service providers. Carmen Marolla, Director, BC Paralegal Association

The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 11,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.


For further information or to arrange an interview contact:

Ben Hadaway Communications Officer 604.443.5708 bhadaway@lsbc.org Robyn Crisanti Manager, Communications and Public Affairs 604.697.5845 rcrisanti@lsbc.org

– See more at: http://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/page.cfm?cid=3845&t=Law-Society-governors-approve-joint-task-force-recommendations-on-the-future-of-legal-service-regulation#sthash.MKWo3jh4.dOv5Fapl.dpuf

A Dodek: CALE Listserv Year End Report for 2013

As the creator and the host of the Canadian Legal Ethics listserv, it is my pleasure to provide this year end report to the now more than 100 of you who are members of this listserv.  How did this happen?

The listserv was founded at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law in October 2010 after the 5th meeting of the group variously known as the Canadian Legal Ethics teachers network and other names.  Since we don’t have much in the way of competition, there is much risk in our using many names. Let me thank my Law School, the University of Ottawa, for hosting the listserv.

At that meeting in October, we also decided to formally create an organization – the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics (CALE) who had its founding corporate meeting at ILEC 5 in Banff in July 2012.  The CALE website can be found at https://ethicsincanada.com/ and is run by Chantal Morton an expatriate Canadian legal ethics teacher now teaching in Melbourne.  If you would like to post information on the CALE website please e-mail Chantal at Chantal.Morton@unimelb.edu.au  .  Chantal often posts articles that people post on this listserv to our public CALE website.

In 2013, the listserv grew from 75 members to over 100.  If we were a company, that would be double-digit growth and we might be rich!  But, alas, we are ethicists!   This listserv is not public.  However, with more than 100 people it is hard to consider things confidential and I would caution people appropriately.  The list is predominantly made up of full-time law teachers in Canada with some part-time law teachers/ full-time lawyers as well.  There are also regulators, several judges and some other lawyers who actively contribute to conversations.   When I mention listserv members in a post I try to identify them as as such so people know.

We had a great conference in Saskatoon in October – thank you Brent Cotter.  And we have much to look forward to in 2014: ILEC VI in London June 10-12, 2014 http://www.city.ac.uk/international-legal-ethics-conference  and the CALE Conference at Western October 23-25, 2014.

Let me invite all of you to share news of your publications and of those of others.  Let me send a special invitation to our graduate / post-graduate students to send me your work and your news to share with others.

As our listserv has grown over the year, I have no longer been able to welcome and introduce each new member of the listserv.  I am proud to say that we now have representatives from every Common Law law school in the country on the listserv.  Let me give a special welcome to Mariette Brennan and Frances Chapman from Lakehead – Canada`s newest Law School which opened its doors this past September.


For those who tweet, you can follow some of us on twitter: @franceschapman, @noelsemple @woolleylaw, @CLPatUofT, @sfodden @pavLAWich @LeeAkazaki @AmySalyzyn, @DeanSossin, @mmercertoronto, @micahrankin, @julahughes, @dwwiseman, @ADodek.  If you are on Twitter, let me know and I will circulate – Chantal will add links to our CALE website for all.

Finally, just a reminder – you can post directly to the listserv by e-mailing cmlethics-l@listserv.uottawa.ca or replying ALL to an old message (change the subject line).  Or send to me and I’ll post.  I love to share news about you with others.   We changed the settings on the listserv this year so if you reply to a message it is sent only to the person who sent it and not to the whole list.


I believe that it is ethical and appropriate to wish those celebrating Christmas a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holidays to everyone and all the best to everyone for a Happy and Ethical 2014.  May the Canadian Legal Ethics community continue to grow.

Adam Dodek

Moderator, Canadian Legal Ethics Listserv
Secretary and Treasurer, Canadian Association for Legal Ethics (CALE)
Vice-Dean Research & Associate Professor
Faculty of Law, Common Law Section
University of Ottawa

A Dodek: The Ethics of Articling

It has long been an open secret that our articling system is deeply flawed. But is it unethical?

Articling today is a system that would be equally at home in Downton Abbey and in Booker Prize Winner Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.

While I don’t think articling is inherently unethical, I do believe that it is inherently unequal and therefore creates an environment where unethical behavior is possible. Articling takes a vulnerable and powerless law student who is often carrying a significant financial debt and requires her to be at the beck and call of an experienced lawyer with largely no oversight. Desperate students will do almost anything to obtain articles and they will put up with almost anything to fulfill their articles. Some students even article for free, a possibility that exists only because articling is exempt from general wage and hour legislation that protects most employees.

Read the rest of the post on SLAW here: http://www.slaw.ca/2013/12/09/the-ethics-of-articling/

2014 CALE conference October 23 – 25 in London, Ontario

Please save the dates for the annual CALE conference scheduled  for October 23 – 25, 2014.  

Sessions will be devoted to teaching, research and regulatory developments.  

Thursday, October 23:  check in and dinner. 

Friday, October 24 – 25: conference with a reception and dinner on Friday. 

There is no registration fee.

More details will follow.