On November 6, 2020, CALE/ACEJ submitted feedback to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada on its proposed amendments to Model Code Rule 6.3 concerning discrimination and harassment.
At the 2020 CALE/ACEJ annual conference, we presented our annual awards.
The first award presented was the CALE/ACEJ Best Paper Award for an outstanding paper written by an emerging scholar in the field of legal ethics. Papers submitted for this award are assessed based on their originality, the thoroughness of their research and analysis, and the extent to which they advance thinking on topics of importance in the field, nationally or internationally.
We are pleased to announce that Deanne Sowter was this year’s award recipient for her paper “The Future Harm Exception: Coercive Control as Serious Psychological Harm and the Challenge for Lawyers’ Ethics” This research for this paper was supported by the 2019/20 OBA Foundation Chief Justice of Ontario Fellowship in Legal Ethics and Professionalism Studies. The question that Deanne asks in this paper is whether a lawyer can use the future harm exception to prevent her client from coercively controlling his former spouse. Congratulations to Deanne!
The second award presented was the CALE/ACEJ Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is meant to recognize sustained accomplishments in the field of legal ethics and professionalism by a member of CALE/ACEJ.
We are pleased to announce that the winner of this award is Richard Devlin. Richard Devlin was one of the founders of CALE/ACEJ. He co-hosted the very first CALE/ACEJ conference at Dalhousie University in 2006 along with Jocelyn Downie, which was attended by about 15 people. CALE/ACEJ was officially created four years later, and the first official meeting was held at ILEC IV in Banff in 2012. Richard served as the founding President of CALE/ACEJ (2011-2015) and he is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors (2015-Present). In short, throughout CALE/ACEJ’s lifetime Richard has been involved in a leadership capacity.
His contributions to teaching and scholarship in the area of legal ethics have been and continue to be profound. Richard is a regular speaker on issues related to legal ethics, with a particular emphasis on judicial ethics, and he has published over 100 papers, chapters, and essays since 1985.
As one of the letters in submitted in support of Richard’s award stated:
“I genuinely believe that Richard deserves the Lifetime Achievement Award for not just sustained accomplishments but rather for sustained, extraordinary, catalytic, and transformative accomplishments in the field of legal ethics and professionalism”
Those who nominated Richard for the award also emphasized the time and care he has taken to mentor junior members of the legal ethics academic community. His nominators wrote:
“As a matter of common practice, Richard takes the time to reach out and support members of the community when they face difficult challenges within the academy, and when they need to make difficult decisions. He is always there. He also takes the time to read our work and provide thoughtful feedback, even when the world is quite literally upside down and he has an otherwise onerous list of things on his plate.”
So many of us have benefited from Richard’s mentorship and collegiality. Congratulations, Richard!
This year, the CALE/ACEJ AGM will take place over Zoom the day before the conference: it will be Thursday October 22, 2020, 3:30pm AST.
An agenda can be found on this webpage: https://ethicsincanada.com/minutes-from-meetings/
If any CALE/ACEJ member would like to attend, please email Conor.Falvey@dal.ca by Monday October 19 to note your attendance and to receive the Zoom link.
Registration is now open for this year’s conference that will take place over Zoom on Friday October 23, 2020.
Please note that registration is restricted to current members of CALE/ACEJ. Registration will not be capped initially; however, we reserve the right to impose a limit on registration if numbers so require. Registration will be open until October 15th.
The Board of CALE/ACEJ has made the decision to move the Annual Conference that was scheduled to be hosted by the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, October 22-24, 2020 to a one-day virtual conference to take place Friday October 23, 2020.
Later this summer, we will circulate more information about registration and the platform that we will be using. Registration is not currently available.
Please also note that the original deadline for calls for research and teaching presentations was June 15, 2020, but we are now extending the deadline to June 30, 2020. Further details on the call for presentations and who to contact can be found here: https://ethicsincanada.com/2020/04/05/cale-2020-conference-call-for-presentation-proposals/.
Today, CALE/ACEJ submitted feedback to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada on its proposal to add new rules to its Model Code addressing the obligations that arise from ex parte communications with tribunals and during ex parte proceedings. The letter that CALE/ACEJ sent can be found here.
In April and May, three new legal ethics blogs were posted at Slaw.ca, which may be of interest to website readers:
- “Trial by Zoom”: What Virtual Hearings Might Mean for Open Courts, Participant Privacy and the Integrity of Court Proceedings, by Amy Salyzyn, April 17, 2020
- What Is Non-Adversarial Advocacy?, by Deanne Sowter, April 24, 2020
- Getting Useful Information to Consumers of Legal Services, by Malcolm Mercer, May 8, 2020
New scholarship by CALE/ACEJ Board Member Pooja Parmar
This paper critically examines the turn to cultural competence as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”) Calls to Action 27 and 28. I suggest that an uncritical embrace of cultural competence, as currently understood, is inadequate and might even prove to be counterproductive despite best intentions. While acknowledging that the focus on cultural competence is often driven by genuine commitments to reconciliation within the legal profession in Canada, I outline concerns which show that a limited and deficient conception of cultural competence is unlikely to assist lawyers in representing Indigenous clients better or change Indigenous peoples’ experience with the legal system more broadly. I suggest that the TRC Calls to Action demand a response that centres accountability, and that the legal profession must recognize Calls 27 and 28 as a unique opportunity to innovate and lead by rethinking legal education, competence, and ethical lawyering in a multi-juridical space such as Canada. I conclude with two suggestions for taking this conversation forward.
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has initiated a consultation regarding proposed Model Code amendments that address issues related to the duties related to (1) non-discrimination and harassment and (2) ex parte communications with courts and tribunals.
Information can also be found on the Federation’s website.