CBC: Articling law students caught plagiarizing

From CBC News Online: Work stolen for ethics essay

Posted: Apr 24, 2013  12:51 PM CST; Last Updated:  Apr 24, 2013  12:39 PM CST

Two law grads have been caught plagiarizing an essay on ethics while they were articling.

The students were caught stealing material for an assignment that’s part of the bar exam process.

Law dean Sanjeev Anand sat on the Law Society of Saskatchewan committees that looked at the cases.

Both Darby Jane Bachynski and Joanie Stephanie Paquin were found guilty of stealing material.

In one decision, Anand quoted another case that said, “next to stealing, cheating and lying are the most egregious activities a lawyer can engage in.”

Anand writes that he’s mystified by the students’ behaviour.

“It is baffling why students who have successfully completed a law degree, in what can only be hoped is a singular instance of profoundly poor judgment, decide to gamble their reputation by cheating on what is acknowledged by most as a relatively straightforward evaluation.”

The students had submitted the essays last October.

But plagiarism detection software, used on all the essays that had been submitted, revealed that the papers were similar to an essay done a year earlier by another student.

Bachynski and Paquin must write a new ethics paper, write another essay outlining what they did wrong, and push back any applications to become lawyers by three and four months.

A Woolley: Independence of the Bar and the Prevention of Money-Laundering

On ABLawg, May 8, 2013, Alice Woolley considered:  Federation of Law Societies of Canada v Canada (Attorney General) 2013 BCCA 147.


On April 4, 2013 the British Columbia Court of Appeal issued its decision in Federation of Law Societies of Canada v Canada (Attorney General), 2013 BCCA 147 which upheld the earlier decision of a chambers judge that aspects of Canada’s money-laundering legislation violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and cannot be saved under section 1.

In her initial judgment (2011 BCSC 1270) the chambers judge held that aspects of the money-laundering regime undermined the lawyer-client relationship and, in particular, eroded the solicitor-client privilege, which created an unjustified violation of section 7 (para 144). Because the alternative regime implemented by the provincial law societies was an effective alternative that had a more minimal effect on the liberty interests of clients, the money-laundering regime could not be saved under section 1. The law societies’ regulation ensured “that proportionate and dissuasive criminal, civil or administrative sanctions be available for non-compliance with anti-money laundering requirements” (para 154).

To continue reading, and for a PDF of her analysis, click HERE

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada v Attorney General of Canada 2013 BCCA 147


Appeal dismissed. Reasons by Hinkson JA. concurred in by Finch CJBC and Neilson JA. Concurring reasons by Frankel JA concurred in by Garson JA


[1] Money laundering and terrorist financing involve the process of disguising activities in order to make them appear legal. The objective of these activities is to mask financial resources and criminal conduct from the scrutiny of state authorities.

[2] Beginning in 1989, the federal government introduced legislation aimed at combating these activities. The application of the various forms of legislation to lawyers and notaries proposed by the Attorney General of Canada (“Canada”) has been the subject of disagreement between Canada, and the members of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (“FLSC”) and its member societies. Continue reading

LSUC sends ‘unhappy message’ with Groia ruling: Cherniak

From Legal Feeds

Written by Glenn Kauth

Posted date June 29, 2012

The Law Society of Upper Canada has sent a “very unhappy message to the bar” with its decision finding Joe Groia engaged in professional misconduct, according to his lawyer.

The comment from Earl Cherniak comes as a law society hearing panel ruled on Groia’s actions in the proceedings against former Bre-X Minerals Ltd. vice chairman John Felderhof. It found “Groia’s attacks on the prosecution were unjustified and therefore constituted conduct that fell below the standards of principles of civility, courtesy, and good faith required by the Rules of Professional Conduct.”

For the full story, click HERE.

Bre-X lawyer violated civility rules: law society

Bre-X lawyer violated civility rules: law society

JEFF GRAY Law Reporter

The Globe and Mail

Last updated Thursday, Jun. 28 2012, 7:08 PM EDT

Prominent Bay Street securities lawyer Joe Groia’s courtroom rhetoric during the bitter Bre-X trial more than decade ago amounted to professional misconduct, a Law Society of Upper Canada disciplinary panel has ruled.

Mr. Groia was accused of violating his profession’s rules on civility with his behaviour during the trial of John Felderhof, the geologist at the centre of the Bre-X gold scandal in the 1990s. Mr. Felderhof was acquitted of securities charges.

During the trial, Mr. Groia repeatedly clashed with lawyers for the Ontario Securities Commission, accusing them of trying to railroad his client.

But two judges’ rulings later criticized his use of “sarcasm” and “invective” and even “guerrilla threatre” during the trial. And after a Law Society investigation, Mr. Groia faced a professional discipline hearing.

Mr. Groia’s penalty is to be determined at a future hearing. Under the Law Society’s rules he faces anything from a reprimand to a suspension or the revoking of his licence to practise law.

For the full story, click HERE.

A Woolley: Lawyers regulating lawyers (redux)?

Lawyers regulating lawyers (redux)?

By Alice Woolley

From: ABlawg

Cases Considered: Law Society of Upper Canada Complaint, Case No. 2012-105128


On November 3, 2011 I wrote a blog on the Law Society of British Columbia’s decision to discipline Gerry Laarakker for unethical conduct (here). Laarakker had written rude things about (and to) a lawyer, M, who had sent a demand letter to Laarakker’s client. The demand letter claimed recovery of $521.97 on the basis that Laarakker’s client’s daughter had shoplifted from M’s client. In my earlier blog I suggested that directing regulatory attention at Laarakker’s incivility was a poor use of the Law Society’s regulatory resources. My argument was that lawyers who send demand letters without a legal basis for the claim made in the letter, and with no intention to pursue the claim in court, act unethically. Law societies do not, however, appear to discipline lawyers for sending improper demand letters. The only real sanction for those lawyers is social shaming and shunning. Disciplining lawyers who are uncivil in response to arguably unethical conduct takes away the only sanction on that behaviour, and may encourage it. Such discipline is, for that reason, problematic.

For the full discussion on ABlawg, click HERE.

B.C. lawyer fined $1,500 for outburst at Ontario colleague

Written by Michael McKiernan

Posted Date: January 18, 2012

A B.C. lawyer who launched a verbal attack on an Ontario counterpart for sending demand letters to the parents of alleged shoplifters has been fined $1,500 for his outburst by the Law Society of British Columbia.

Gerry Laarakker, a sole practitioner in Vernon, B.C., went on the offensive after a client came to him with a $500 demand letter from Toronto lawyer Patrick Martin, writing on behalf of the Hudson’s Bay Co.

For the full article, click HERE.

Professor Alice Woolley, University of Calgary, posted an excellent discussion of the ethical issues raised by the case to ABLawg on November 3, 2011, titled “Lawyers regulating lawyers?”

Decision Considered: Law Society of British Columbia v Laarakker Law Society of British Columbia Disciplinary Hearing Reports, September 21, 2011


A disciplinary decision by the Law Society of British Columbia does not fall within the usual mandate of ABlawg. It is not an Alberta decision, nor even a judicial one, and has no direct precedential significance for Alberta lawyers or courts. The decision warrants comment, however, because the threat it creates to the legitimacy of lawyer self-regulation applies to all Canadian law societies. Specifically, the misdirection in regulatory energy reflected by the decision of the Law Society of British Columbia in this case is something to which all Canadian law societies have shown themselves to be susceptible.

For the full discussion, click HERE.

Wallace v Canadian Pacific Railway 2011 SKCA 108

From the judgment written by  Ottenbreit J.A.

I. Introduction

[1] On December 17, 2008, McKercher LLP (“McKercher”) commenced a class action on behalf of Gordon Wallace (“Wallace”), as representative plaintiff, against Canadian National Railway (“CN”), the Canadian Pacific Railway and several other defendants (“the Wallace claim”) alleging the railways had overcharged western farmers for grain transportation during the previous 25 years and claiming damages, including aggravated and punitive damages. This matter comes before us because, at the time it commenced the Wallace claim, McKercher was acting for CN on a number of other unrelated matters. Continue reading

CJC review of Justice Robert Dewar

From the Canadian Judicial Council website:

Canadian Judicial Council completes its review of complaints made against justice Robert Dewar

Ottawa, 9 November 2011 – The Canadian Judicial Council announced today the results of its review of complaints made against the Honourable Robert Dewar of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. The complaints focused on comments made by Justice Dewar after finding Mr Rhodes guilty of sexual assault and in the context of sentencing in the case of The Queen v. Rhodes.

The complaints against Justice Dewar were reviewed by the Honourable Neil C. Wittmann, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and Vice-Chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee of Council.

For the full comments on the CJC website, click HERE or continue reading.  Continue reading