Malcolm Mercer becomes new Chair of Ontario’s Law Society Tribunal

CALE/ACEJ is pleased to report that Malcolm Mercer, a long-time member and supporter of CALE/ACEJ and a former Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, has been appointed Chair of the Law Society Tribunal. Malcolm’s background and experience make him an ideal fit for this role. He replaces David Wright, the first full-time Chair of the Tribunal, who held the position since 2013.

The Law Society Tribunal is an independent adjudicative tribunal within the Law Society of Ontario. The Tribunal processes, hears and decides regulatory cases about Ontario lawyers and paralegals in a manner that is fair, just and in the public interest. It is divided into a Hearing Division and an Appeal Division.

The notice from the Law Society of Ontario is available here.

Recap: Annual Conference 2020

On October 23, 2020, CALE/ACEJ held its annual conference, the intellectual and social high-water mark of its annual activities. The conference was held virtually and was supported by the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. Heartfelt thanks are due to its Acting Dean Richard Devlin and Zoom Coordinator Conor Falvey for their efforts, without which the conference could not have happened as it did.

The conference featured presentations in three areas: teaching, regulation and research. A complete listing of all presentations is on the CALE/ACEJ website under the Annual Conference tab.

The teaching panel focused heavily on issues relating to teaching legal ethics online. One of the themes in the discussions was which recent short-term developments would continue to be used even after the end of the pandemic. This generated considerable (and heated) debate. Another related topic was whether the current requirement that the JD program be primarily taught in person rather than online is defensible as a matter of pedagogy or access to education.

The regulation panel considered the implications of the pandemic on the regulation of the legal profession. All presenters noted the significant demands the pandemic has placed on the need to improve access to technology and training in how to use it effectively. As with teaching, a major issue was thinking about which changes, made for emergency reasons and often in a very short period of time, will be retained for the future.

The research panels ranged widely over the landscape of legal ethics. Several presentations examined lawyers and the use of social media. Other topics included improving the ability of lawyers to work with and serve trans clients, how to regulate electronic legal services provided directly to members of the public, recent developments in the law on lawyers’ undertakings and on the obligation of advocates to raise adverse authority, and how to respond to the increasing use of analytics to predict judicial decisions (“Moneyball” for judging).

Many conference participants were struck by how much exchange and debate the presentations produced. The chat function in Zoom played a major role, allowing relevant commentary and information to supplement the oral presentation in real time and keeping people very engaged. While regular attendees certainly missed seeing each other in person, the virtual format did allow several people to attend who otherwise would not have done so.

CALE/ACEJ very much looks forward to the 2021 annual conference, to be hosted at Lakehead University. Here’s hoping we will be able to be there in person.

Annual Meeting 2020

On October 22, 2020, CALE/ACEJ held its annual meeting of members as an online Zoom meeting. President Amy Salyzyn highlighted CALE/ACEJ’s active role in providing feedback to both the Canadian Judicial Council (for its efforts to create a new version of Ethical Principles for Judges) and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (for its ongoing revisions to aspects of the Model Code). She also noted that a priority for 2020-21 would be to review and confirm the composition of CALE/ACEJ’s membership.

Treasurer Basil Alexander reported that the financial position was not materially changed from the prior year and that CALE/ACEJ is current with its corporate and tax filings.

Elected as directors of CALE/ACEJ for 2020-21 were Basil Alexander, Brent Cotter, Richard Devlin, Jula Hughes, Sonia Lawrence, Andrew Flavelle Martin, Pooja Parmar, Stephen Pitel, Marie-Claude Rigaud, Alain Roussy and Amy Salyzyn. At a subsequent meeting of those directors, the following officers were appointed: Chair of the Board Richard Devlin, President Amy Salyzyn, Vice-President Stephen Pitel, Corporate Secretary and Treasurer Basil Alexander, Chief Information Officer Amy Salyzyn and Conference Coordinator Jula Hughes. Members thanked departing director Noel Semple for his service.

In discussion, some members indicated a desire to consider whether it would be appropriate for non-academic members to serve as directors of CALE/ACEJ. The consensus was that this issue should be discussed in the spring of 2021 and in any event in advance of the 2021 Annual Meeting.

Lakehead University has agreed to host the 2021 CALE/ACEJ conference. The plan for 2022 is to hold the conference in western Canada.

CALE/ACEJ Awards: Nominations Open

CALE has two annual awards. The first is for the best paper written by an emerging scholar. The second is a lifetime achievement award. The terms for each award are available on the website (here).

The deadline for nominations this year is August 16, 2020. Nominations are to be submitted by e-mail to CALE’s Corporate Secretary and Treasurer, Professor Basil Alexander of the University of New Brunswick. The paper must be submitted in an anonymized format (so that the author will not be identified to the selection committee) and the lifetime achievement award must use the nomination form. This form was circulated to the CALE mailing list and is also available on request from Professor Alexander. Any questions about the awards or the nomination process should be directed to Professor Alexander.

The selection committee for both awards is Pooja Parmar, Darrel Pink and Stephen Pitel.

CALE 2020 Conference: Call for Presentation Proposals

The 2020 CALE Conference will be held October 22-24, 2020 at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  While we do not know what the future holds, we are proceeding on the basis that we will be able to gather in person as we have in the past.

Proposals are invited for presentations on either teaching legal ethics or research and scholarship about legal ethics and professionalism. The latter includes research relating to the regulation of the profession.

We invite anyone interested in presenting on a topic to contact us. We welcome proposals from junior scholars and from those working on legal ethics outside the academy. The eventual format of the presentations will depend on, among other things, the number of proposals we accept, but we expect that each presenter would have about 15-20 minutes plus time for questions. There is no need to have a formal paper accompanying your presentation: slides or oral remarks alone are fine. You need not have a finished product: works in progress are welcome.

One of the reasons for asking for proposals at this early stage is that we understand that for some of you it can be easier to obtain institutional funding to attend the CALE conference once you have been accepted as a speaker. We therefore aim to communicate acceptances as soon as we can so that you can leverage that acceptance to obtain funds.

For teaching, please respond to Marie-Claude Rigaud (marie-claude.rigaud@umontreal.ca) and Andrew Flavelle Martin (andrew.martin@dal.ca) by June 15, 2020.

For research, please respond to Basil Alexander (basil.alexander@unb.ca) and Stephen Pitel (spitel@uwo.ca) by June 15, 2020.

 

Legal Ethics Professor Appointed to the Senate

On January 31, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Governor General had appointed W. Brent Cotter as an independent Senator for Saskatchewan.  CALE/ACEJ extends its warmest congratulations to Brent, a founding member of CALE/ACEJ who has served on its board of directors and as its Board Chair.

Prof. Cotter is one of Canada’s foremost legal ethicists.  Over the course of his career, he has taught at universities across the country.  He was the Dean of the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan.  His scholarship on legal ethics has been foundational to the development of the field in Canada.  He is a co-author of Canada’s leading legal ethics casebook.  He has been a tireless mentor to many other more junior legal ethics scholars.

Register for CBA-FLSC Ethics Forum 2020

The annual CBA-FLSC Ethics Forum will be held on Friday, March 13, 2020 in Toronto.  The Forum brings together legal academics and professionals for a day of discussion, debate and review.  This year it features a keynote address by Justice Alice Woolley, former professor of law at the University of Calgary and President of CALE.

The detailed program of events for the day is available here.

Information about registering is available here.  You can register online.  We hope to see you there!

Ethical Principles for Judges: Draft Released for Comment

The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has posted a draft of the revised Ethical Principles for Judges.  Information about the process of revising this important document is available here and the draft itself is available here.  The changes are sufficiently substantial that a blackline or mark-up drawing attention to the specific changes is not available.

CALE/ACEJ, through its Board of Directors, will provide feedback on the draft to the CJC by its new deadline (updated December 3, 2019) of February 14, 2020.  It will post this feedback on this website.

The revision of Ethical Principles for Judges is a generational event.  It is therefore important for the process to be as inclusive and responsive as possible to ensure continued public confidence in the Canadian judiciary.  CALE/ACEJ encourages anyone interested in judicial ethics and conduct to review the draft and to provide feedback to the CJC, either at info@cjc-ccm.ca or Canadian Judicial Council, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0W8.  If you provide feedback, you are most welcome to also share it with CALE/ACEJ.