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.

 

Upcoming Public Lecture by Canada’s Former Governor General

On Wednesday, March 27, 2019 the Right Honourable David Johnston, former Governor General of Canada, will deliver a public lecture on the lawyer’s commitment to professionalism and the rule of law, entitled “Seeking the Good”.  The lecture, which is the tenth annual Coxford Lecture, is at 12:30pm in room 38 of the Faculty of Law at Western University in London, Ontario.

New Scholarship: Advocacy in Non-Adversarial Family Law: A Recommendation for Revision to the Model Code

New scholarship from CALE member Deanne Sowter now up on SSRN!

Link here.

Abstract:

Family law is evolving towards non-adversarial dispute resolution processes. As a result, some family lawyers are representing clients who are trying to reach settlements that recognize their interests, instead of just pursuing their legal rights. By responding to the full spectrum of client needs, lawyers are required to behave differently than they do when they are representing a client in a traditional civil litigation file. They consider the emotional and financial consequences of relationship breakdown – things that are not typically within the purview of the family law lawyer. They objectively reality check with their client, and they approach interest-based negotiations in a client-centric way. These lawyers view their role as that of a non-adversarial advocate, and their client as a whole person with interests that are not just legal. This paper draws on an empirical study involving focus groups with family law lawyers, to argue that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, Model Code of Professional Conduct, needs to be updated to incorporate non-adversarial advocacy. The lawyers in the study viewed non-adversarial advocacy as being responsive to client needs, and in the interest of the client’s children. This paper draws from the study to establish what constitutes non-adversarial advocacy and then it presents a proposal for revising Rule 5 (Advocacy) of the Model Code.

Wickwire Lecture at Schulich School of Law

On January 31, 2019, David Layton QC will deliver the F.B. Wickwire Memorial Lecture on the topic of “Criminal Lawyers, Hired Guns & Junkyard Dogs”, looking at the ethics of being a criminal defence lawyer. 

The lecture is at 4:30pm in room 105 of the Weldon Law Building at Dalhousie Unversity, Halifax.  It is open to the public.

CBA-FLSC Ethics Forum 2019

The Forum will be held from 9am to 4:30pm on March 1, 2019 at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto.  The Forum is an annual discussion between lawyers, academics and regulators who are interested in legal ethics and professional services regulation.  Registration information is available here.

This year the Forum will focus on four topics: modernizing legal regulation, current issues in judicial ethics, entrepreneurial ideas for improving access to justice, and obligations to unrepresented and self-represented parties.

Speakers include Chief Justice Robert Bauman, Dean Adam Dodek, Lisa Eisen, Irwin Fefergrad, Gillian Hadfield, Jacqueline Horvat, Lena Koke, Taryn McCormick, Jacqueline Mullenger, Andrew Pilliar, Darrel Pink, Stephen Pitel, Amy Salyzyn, Darcia Senft, Associate Chief Justice Deborah Smith, Justice Lorne Sossin and David Swayze.  The Forum is co-chaired by LSO Treasurer Malcolm Mercer and CALE Vice-President Amy Salyzyn.

Ontario Judicial Council Decision Regarding Justice Donald McLeod

In December 2018 the Ontario Judicial Council released its Reasons for Decision (available here) regarding a complaint against Justice Donald McLeod (of the Ontario Court of Justice).  The conduct in question involved his role as Chair of the Interim Steering Committee of the Federation of Black Canadians.  The Reasons found that Justice McLeod’s conduct was “incompatible with judicial office” (para 92) but that public confidence in his ability to serve as a judge or in the judiciary generally had not been undermined as a result (para 94).  Accordingly, the complaint against Justice McLeod was dismissed.

CJC Review Panel Report on Justice Patrick Smith

In November 2018 the Canadian Judicial Council released the Report of its Review Panel considering the conduct of Justice Patrick Smith (of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice).  The Report addressed issues arising from Justice Smith’s appointment as Interim Dean (Academic) of the Lakehead University Faculty of Law.  The report is available here.  It concluded that Justice Smith should not have accepted the appointment.  However, this was not sufficiently serious to warrant his removal as a judge.

Stephen GA Pitel, Michal Malecki: Judicial Fundraising in Canada

Published in the Alberta Law Review, Vol 52, No 3

Abstract: The extent to which judges should be involved in fundraising for civic and charitable causes is an important issue of judicial ethics. The default principle adopted by judicial councils in Canada precludes judges from fundraising subject to only minor exceptions. Yet anecdotal evidence indicates that some Canadian judges do engage in fundraising. This raises the question of whether there should be a change to the principle so as to allow judges greater scope for fundraising activities. The aim of this article is to review the ethical principles for judicial fundraising and evaluate whether they require modifications for the modern Canadian judiciary. The authors consider several hypothetical fundraising scenarios and propose recommendations to the Canadian Judicial Council’s Ethical Principles for Judges.