Richard Devlin – Cultural Competency

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.