CALE/ACEJ is aware that a motion has been brought by lawyers in Alberta challenging the basis on which continuing professional development (CPD) on Indigenous intercultural competency has been mandated by the Law Society of Alberta (or other specific CPD the LSA may mandate).
In November 2021, CALE/ACEJ responded to a consultation by the Law Society of Ontario about competency requirements, particularly those about general and mandatory CPD, including specific CPD requirements. In its submission, it advocated that to meet the obligations under Call to Action 27, the LSO should require that all of its licensees complete Indigenous intercultural competence training.
This remains CALE/ACEJ’s position, not only in respect of the LSO but also in respect of the regulators of the legal profession in all provinces and territories. All legal regulators should develop and adopt such a requirement.
More information about the importance of general and mandatory CPD, including mandatory Indigenous intercultural competency, can be found in CALE/ACEJ’s November 2021 submissions (available below).
A new article by Richard Devlin and David Layton “Culturally Incompetent Counsel and the Trial Level Judge: A
Legal and Ethical Analysis” (2014) 60 Criminal Law Quarterly 360-385.
Richard Devlin, Schulich School of Law, has posted a very interesting post on the Law Times Speaker’s Corner pages on the importance of cultural competence. From the website:
Speaker’s Corner: Time to train lawyers on cultural competence
Monday, January 16, 2012 | Written by Richard Devlin
It’s axiomatic that legal professionals must be competent. But is it also axiomatic that lawyers must be culturally competent? A recent case from the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal suggests that it might be.
In June 2008, Antoine Fraser was charged with sexually touching a young person contrary to s. 151(a) of the Criminal Code. Fraser was a teacher and the complainant a student.
Fraser retained a very senior lawyer, Lance Scaravelli, to defend him. Fraser was convicted after a trial by judge and jury. He received a sentence of nine months in jail followed by one year of probation and 50 hours of community service.
On appeal, in a direct and hard-hitting decision, Justice Jamie Saunders, writing for a unanimous court, overturned the conviction on the basis that Scaravelli’s legal advice and representation were ineffective.
For the full article online, click HERE.