Legal Feeds Blog
|Vice Media lawyer Iain MacKinnon is concerned police may use search orders and production orders more frequently against journalists in the wake of the production order being upheld.|
“The protection of society from serious criminal activity is equally important to the maintenance of a functioning democracy. Those fundamental societal concerns can come into conflict. When they do, it falls to the court to resolve those conflicts. In this case, claims based on the freedom of the press and those based on effective law enforcement collide at two points.”
In R. v. Vice Media Canada Inc. those two points were, first, a production order obtained by the RCMP requiring production from Vice Media of the communications materials between reporter Ben Makuch and a source, Farah Shirdon. The communications arose from a story Makuch wrote in 2014 about Shirdon joining to fight with the terrorist group Daesh, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Shirdon is believed to have left Canada in 2014 and was subsequently charged with six offences in absentia.
“The appellants argue that the production order undermines their role as the eyes and ears of the community by effectively conscripting them into the ranks of law enforcement,” the court noted. “The police respond that they need the information referred to in the production order to effectively investigate serious crimes.”
The second point of collision was the attempt by the appellants, Vice Media, to gain access to the information the police had relied on to obtain the production order. The appellants argued that the press must have access to information on which police rely to obtain coercive court orders; the police responded that such access would compromise the investigation of serious crimes.
The applications judge rejected the appellants’ application to quash the production order, and placed a temporary non-publication order on the unredacted information in the police material, which had been under a sealing order. The appellate court found that some information should remain redacted where it named an individual, but that other information should be made public.
The appellants and their interveners, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the CBC, argued the state’s ability to compel production of information from the media should be more strictly limited; the appellate court disagreed, calling “reasonableness … the constitutional litmus test.”
The application judge had concluded that the same quality of evidence against Shirdon was not available from any other source than Vice Media’s reporter, and the material sought, in the form of screen captures of text messages, provided the best evidence of what Shirdon said, which favoured making the production order.
Also a factor in this case, as the Public Prosecution Service of Canada commented by email, was that it did not involve a confidential journalistic source. “As the Court of Appeal noted, there was an absence of any requests for confidentiality, and Mr. Shirdon was ‘anxious to tell the world about his beliefs and conduct.’ ”
Iain MacKinnon, a partner at Linden & Associates in Toronto, who represents Vice Media, told Legal Feeds that complicated the case for the media outlet. “That made it a more difficult argument for us; for a confidential source, courts … may be more sympathetic in preventing police from seizing material.”
But, says MacKinnon, in this case “we’re not trying to protect a source; we’re trying to protect a larger principle of journalists not being an easy target for police seizure.
“My concern would be that police may use search orders and production orders more frequently against journalists. It may cause people to be wary in speaking to journalists if they know that anything they say, any material may have to be handed over to police. People sometimes speak to journalists because they don’t want to talk to the police. They may not want to expose themselves to potential harm, danger, or be identifiable, [or] they may not want to get involved in a criminal prosecution as a witness.”
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association said in a statement that it “remains concerned about the impact this ruling will have on freedom of the press in Canada, particularly in the contemporary climate. For instance, while we welcome Quebec’s recent decision to strike a provincial Commission of Inquiry on the Protection of the Confidentiality of Journalistic Sources, the many reports of police surveillance of journalists in Quebec that gave rise to the Commission are a reminder that Canada still faces substantial challenges in its efforts to protect a free and independent press.”
MacKinnon says his biggest concern “ is the potential chilling effect: people maybe not wanting to talk to the media, and the risk that [production orders] may become a more common tool … for police to get information”; he likewise notes incidents in Quebec of police wiretapping journalists’ phones. “This is another example of police using journalists to further their investigations.”
MacKinnon says that he has no formal instructions yet to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, though Vice Media has suggested it intends to do that in public comments.
And whether the decision of Ontario’s highest court has a “chilling effect” on the media or more demands for production orders remains to be seen, though the Public Prosecution Service of Canada noted that “the following quotation from the decision of the Court of Appeal appears to be of significance: ‘.. when a proposed production order targets the media, the court must exercise its discretion with care, to avoid compromising — if the police were to compel the media’s information too easily — the unique and important role the media plays in society.’”
Supreme Court of Canada to rule on bail issue in Oland murder case, Canadian Press
Man who crashed vehicle into pole in Vaughan died of gunshot wounds: police, Canadian Press
Surrey RCMP say one woman dead after van crashes into several vehicles, Canadian Press
U.S.-Israeli man arrested in Israel over bomb threats to Jewish centres, Reuters
Hospitals delay projects, hiring due to uncertain fate of Obamacare, Reuters
British-born UK attacker had been investigated over extremism concerns, Reuters
Belgium arrests man trying to drive down shopping street at high speed, Reuters
|Gregory Wylie says the budget is 'best described as fairly light on tax measures.'|
“Subject to transitional provisions,” Adrienne Oliver, a tax lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada in Toronto, explains, “for taxation years beginning on or after Mar. 22, 2017, the budget proposes to eliminate the ability of such designated professionals to elect to use billed-basis accounting. This will affect law firms that do not use the full accrual method of determining their income.”
Gregory Wylie, a tax lawyer at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto, also highlights the elimination of bill-based tax accounting for purposes of computing income, but says “the Budget is best described as fairly light on tax measures. There are no major policy announcements or changes.”
“The government continues to modestly pursue its agenda announced in the 2016 budget to focus on perceived fairness issues,” says Wylie, “including closing so-called loopholes, and targeting perceived inefficient or ineffective tax measures. In this regard, it is notable that Budget 2017 announces the government will in the next few months release a paper on tax planning using private corporations to reduce personal taxes. We may see future changes announced with the pending October 2017 federal government economic statement.”
Oliver describes this as a “a wait and see budget, reflective of the government’s concern about U.S. tax reform and the potential border adjustment tax, as well as its limited spending capacity.”
Other changes to the tax system include measures to:
• prevent the avoidance or deferral of income tax through the use of offsetting derivative positions in straddle transactions;
• extend to Registered Education Savings Plans and Registered Disability Savings Plans anti-avoidance rules similar to the ones applicable in connection with Tax-Free Savings Accounts and Registered Retirement Savings Plans,
• clarify the intended meaning of "factual control" under the Income Tax Act for the purpose of determining who has control of a corporation in order to prevent inappropriate access to supports such as the small business tax rate and the enhanced refundable 35-per-cent Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit for small businesses.
• prevent the avoidance of tax on income from the insurance of Canadian risks by extending the foreign-affiliate base erosion rules to foreign branches of Canadian life insurers.
• replace the Caregiver Credit, Infirm Dependant Credit and Family Caregiver Tax Credit with a single new credit — the Canada Caregiver Credit — non-refundable credit
• modify the tax treatment of successful oil and gas exploratory drilling to maintain their effectiveness.
• Increase excise duty rates on alcohol products by two per cent effective the day after Budget Day, 2017.
• amend the definition of a taxi business under the Excise Tax Act to level the playing field and ensure that ride-sharing businesses are subject to the same GST/HST rules as taxis.
For more information go to Taxnet Pro’s summary of the budget with analysis from tax lawyers from McCarthy Tétrault LLP.
- Registered sex offender will be able to practise law in Ontario
The Law Society of Upper Canada’s hearing division has granted a licence to a former lawyer from Florida who spent two years in prison for a child pornography charge.
|A LSUC hearing division has granted a licence to a former lawyer from Florida who spent two years in prison for a child pornography charge.|
Davidovic was imprisoned in a federal penitentiary and registered as a sex offender after he pleaded guilty to a count of “receiving material containing the visual depiction of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct,” according to the decision.
In 2004, police executed a search warrant at Davidovic’s home and seized his computers. He subsequently admitted to police and to his wife at the time that he had viewed child pornography since 1998. He was originally sentenced to five years in prison, but his sentence was later reduced.
He was also originally charged with a count of possessing child porn, but that was dropped when he pleaded guilty to the other charge.
Benchers Raj Anand and Jan Richardson, who served on the panel, decided to grant Davidovic’s application.
“The applicant's conduct in the years preceding 2004 was reprehensible, but it is not an automatic or permanent bar to his admission, given the evidence and positions of the parties, and in light of the applicant’s determination to be an ethical and productive lawyer,” said Anand and Richardson. Bencher Paul Cooper held the lone dissenting opinion on the split three-member panel.
The tribunal used what is called the five “Armstrong factors” in determining whether Davidovic was in present good character. These factors include the nature and duration of the misconduct, whether the applicant is remorseful, the rehabilitative efforts that have been taken and their success, as well as the applicant’s conduct since the misconduct and the amount of time that has passed since.
Anand and Richardson determined that Davidovic had made repeated statements of remorse and that the risk he would reoffend was very low.
They also noted that there is no evidence of recurrence or subsequent bad behaviour on Davidovic’s part in the 13 years since he was charged.
“The applicant’s attempts to rehabilitate himself have gone beyond steps that might be regarded as inward-looking: treatment, counselling and self-assessment,” Anand and Richardson said.
Davidovic says he was very excited and pleased with the decision.
“I’m very fortunate to have an opportunity to be able to practise my chosen profession again,” he said in a phone interview from Florida.
“I’m pleased that the country of Canada, or at least the law society, recognizes that an individual can rehabilitate themselves and I hope that this decision gives hopes to others that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and if they do what they’re supposed to do, there is a possibility to return to a meaningful life after having been convicted of an offence.”
Davidovic provided the tribunal with a number of reports to support his application, which were written by a reverend who served as his therapist, a social worker who conducted a court-ordered treatment program and a doctor who conducted a psychological evaluation and risk assessment of Davidovic in 2013. The tribunal also received transcripts of recent interviews an LSUC investigator conducted with those who wrote the reports.
The law society’s counsel in the matter, Amanda Worley, did not oppose Davidovic’s application after he provided testimony.
In his dissenting opinion, Cooper found that Davidovic had failed to prove he was rehabilitated.
He found the reports from the social worker and the reverend were dated, anecdotal and not scientific and that testimony given by Davidovic lacked reliability.
“The lack of proper diagnosis together with the risk of re-offending in this case illustrates the applicants’ failure to satisfy his burden,” Cooper said in his dissent.
“He chose to provide dated reports, none of which addressed the simple and present context needed to explain whether paraphilia remains a concern.”
Cooper said he also remained unconvinced that Davidovic “fully comprehends victim empathy or remorse.”
“The seriousness of Mr. Davidovic’s misconduct cannot be bootstrapped by conditions when residual concerns linger about his present good character,” Cooper said.
“The Law Society, as the regulator, has an obligation to maintain high ethical standards in the public interest and to maintain the public’s confidence in the legal profession and its ability to self-govern and regulate. The practice of Law in Ontario is a privilege, not a right.”
Davidovic says Cooper’s opinion reflects the bencher’s own personal bias toward the offence.
“I think it’s inconsistent with the empirical evidence that’s out there on these types of offences,” he says.
Toronto lawyer Lee Akazaki, who was not involved in the proceedings, says the decision was born out of the ambiguity the bar has in its definition of good character. He says the standard for lawyers is much higher than that applied to a non-lawyer who has come out of incarceration rehabilitated.
“Character is something that is intrinsic within us. It’s not like a psychological condition and it’s not like a management of impulses such as anger. Character very much has to do with one’s ethical centre in the deliberation in one’s thinking,” he says.
Akazaki adds that it is difficult to come to the conclusion that Davidovic has sufficiently met the good character requirement, given the facts of the case and the nature of the crime committed.
“Just on the basis of the facts, he established on the evidence that he’s probably a reformed citizen, a rehabilitated citizen, but whether he has the good character requirement to be a member of the bar altogether, I don’t think the facts show he has the good character requirement,” he says.
“It’s difficult in this type of case to see how somebody with this particular background and the type of crime he committed can ever satisfy that requirement.”
In 2004, Davidovic petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for a disciplinary resignation and was granted permission to resign from the Florida bar with leave to appeal in five years. He did not reapply in Florida, but in 2015, he applied to the LSUC for a licence to practise in Ontario, as he plans to move to Toronto where he has family.
Davidovic says he chose to apply in Ontario because there are all sorts of impediments in Florida that make it difficult to live day to day for someone convicted of such an offence.
Before his conviction, Davidovic had practised in estate and financial planning in his early career before going on to act as general counsel for a large telecommunications company.
He says he plans to pursue criminal law in Ontario, as he has a unique perspective that will give him more empathy for those who have made mistakes in their lives.
A spokeswoman for the law society said it is policy not to interpret or comment on decisions made by the tribunal hearing panel.
Couple convicted of killing daughters sued by former lawyer over legal fees, Canadian Press
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Woman outraged former boyfriend gets no jail time for threatening to kill her kids, Canadian Press
Lead poisoning afflicts communities across California, Reuters
Trump tries to rally lawmaker support for health-care bill, Reuters
Lawyer of dead Russian whistleblower Magnitsky injured after fall from window, Globe and Mail
North Korea missile test fails, U.S. and South say, as tensions simmer, Reuters
Mexico warns firms not in their best interests to build border wall, Reuters
March 20 – British Columbia – Attorney General of Canada on behalf of Republic of India v. Badesha
Charter of Rights (criminal): The respondents are the uncle and mother, respectively, of the victim. They are alleged to have planned a long-distance “honour killing” in India from Canada because the victim had married a rickshaw driver, whom the respondents considered unsuitable. The respondents are alleged to have hired hitmen who tracked the couple down in the state of Punjab, killed the victim and severely beat the victim’s husband. Indian authorities charged several Indian nationals connected to the murder, three of whom have been convicted, as well as the respondents.
India sought the respondents’ extradition for prosecution on the offence of conspiracy to commit murder. The respondents, who require medical care in custody, placed before the Minister the record of human rights violations in India’s prison system. The Minister issued a surrender order conditional on receipt of formal assurances from India, including assurances regarding the death penalty, fair trial and the respondents’ health and safety in Indian custody.
Read the British Columbia appellate court’s decisions here.
Related news stories:
Supreme Court to hear 'honour killing' extradition case; CBC News
Supreme Court will hear extradition case for two B.C. people charged in India; CTV
March 21 – Newfoundland and Labrador – R. v. S.B.
Criminal law: The respondent was acquitted of several counts of assault, including with a weapon, against the complainant, who was then his girlfriend and later his wife, and of one count of assault against the complainant’s daughter. Before the trial, the respondent applied pursuant to s. 276 of the Criminal Code to cross-examine the complainant on her prior sexual activity. The trial judge allowed the application in part. The Crown appealed the acquittal on the basis that the trial judge erred in allowing the application in part and in refusing to permit the Crown to lead evidence to rebut the allegations of recent fabrication that arose during the cross-examination. The majority of the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in admitting certain evidence in relation to the complainant’s prior sexual activity and in excluding evidence related to recent fabrication, but that the verdict should not be set aside.
Read the Newfoundland and Labrador appellate court’s decision here.
March 22 – Yukon – First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v. Yukon
Aboriginal law: The Nacho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nations have traditional territory in the Peel Watershed, which covers an area representing 14 per cent of the Yukon. Terms of an agreement between First Nations and the territorial and federal governments established a process for the development of land use plans in various regions, including the Peel Watershed. That process began in 2004 and led to the creation of a commission’s recommended plan in late 2009. The process broke down in 2012 when Yukon changed the plan over the objections of the First Nations, and the Nacho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and others commenced an action against Yukon.
The trial judge held that Yukon had breached the final agreements when it changed the land use plan for the Peel Watershed, quashed Yukon’s final land use plan, and ordered the process be remitted to the point in time at which Yukon came to engage in final consultation with the First Nations. The Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s order quashing the government plan, but ordered that the matter be remitted to the point at which Yukon had received the commission’s recommended plan.
Read the Yukon appellate court decision here.
Related news story:
Council of Yukon First Nations backs groups applying to Supreme Court over Peel dispute; CBC News
Related law firm briefs:
The Peel Watershed Appeal: Back to Square One; Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
The First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v. Yukon 2015 YKCA 18 – Case Summary; Mandell Pinder LLP
March 23 – Ontario – Marakah v. R.
Charter of Rights (criminal): The appellant was convicted of several firearms offences. Before trial, he challenged the search and seizure of his accomplice’s cellphone to which he had sent text messages. The application judge concluded that the appellant could not challenge the search of that phone because he had no reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of the text messages, finding that the expectation ends once the text message reaches its intended destination. Ontario’s Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal with one judge dissenting.
Read the Ontario appellate court decision here.
Related news stories:
Sent text messages not private: ruling; Law Times
Ontario Court of Appeal rules that text conversations are not private; Mobile Syrup
Cases highlight legal debate over texting privacy rights; Law Times
March 23 – Ontario – Jones v. R.
Charter of Rights (criminal): During a police investigation in Ottawa into the possession and trafficking of firearms, police obtained a production order pursuant for records and text messages from a cellphone number associated with Jafari Waldron, and obtained historical text messaging information from Telus. In an exchange via cellphone about the potential sale of a handgun, one of the phones was found to be associated with Waldron and one allegedly used by the appellant. Both phones were listed under other names. The appellant was convicted for firearms and drug trafficking.
Read the Ontario appellate court decision here.
- Judge stays charge, slams Crown for delays in workplace fatality case
|Norm Keith says prosecutors at the Ministry of Labour and other government departments have not been paying attention to corporations who are in the process of being prosecuted simply because they assumed maybe that Jordan didn’t apply.|
“The defendant’s trial has clearly been unreasonably delayed whether the analysis is under the Jordan framework or that of Morin. The Crown principally due to its ongoing failure to provide timely disclosure and its overall complacency about the pace of the litigation is responsible for the vast majority of the delay with the rest accounted for by institutional time constraints,” Wilkie wrote.
Justice Wilkie also stated: “In my view it is apparent from the court’s summary of the chronology of the trial itself, that the Crown made no efforts to manage the case so as to improve the pace of litigation but in fact through lack of focus and inaction further contributed to the delay.”
While there have been a couple of other stays issued under Jordan, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP lawyer Norm Keith predicts there may be more to come.
“I think prosecutors at the Ministry of Labour and other government departments have not been paying attention to corporations who are in the process of being prosecuted simply because they assumed maybe that Jordan didn’t apply, but this case definitively asks does Jordan supersede CIP [R. v. CIP Inc.], which sets a higher test for prejudice for a corporation than an individual.
“CIP basically said you can’t presume prejudice just because of a long delay under s. 11(b) — you have to prove as the corporate defendant that you have suffered irremediable prejudice,” says Keith, who represented Stephenson’s Rental in the case.
And in his decision, Wilkie states: “. . . at the heart of Jordan is the objective to change the culture of delay in the justice system as a whole and to require all trials to function as efficiently as possible. In this sense they have signaled that when section 11(b) is breached it is not just the particular defendant who is prejudiced but the justice system and by extension the community as a whole. There is no basis for concluding that this objective applies only to trials of individuals.”
The charge against Stephenson’s Rental Services, issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, arose from a workplace fatality that occurred at the General Motors plant in St. Catharines, Ont. on Nov. 18, 2011. The worker was an employee of Procon Niagara, contracted by GM to do work at its plant. At the time of the incident that caused his death, the person was operating an electric-powered elevated work platform also known as an articulating boom lift, which had been rented by Procon from Stephenson’s Rental Services. The allegation was that the equipment provided by Stephenson’s was mechanically defective and not in proper working order.
At the time the delay application was heard in January 2017, the case had been in the system for more than 55 months and the trial was more than two years old. But that was not the first time there had been an assertion by Keith that the proceedings breached his client’s right to trial without reasonable delay.
There was a 30-month delay from the laying of the charge in June 2012 to the beginning of trial in December 2014. Keith brought an 11(b) application returnable on the trial date.
The two-and-a-half years leading to the trial included a 19-month period involving 13 appearances before the trial was set including one, where with no explanation, no one appeared for the Crown.
Keith says the Crown was arguing it was a complicated case with expert witness material involved. However, the judge pointed out the Crown had taken too long to turn its mind to the expert witness material.
“There is no question that the expert disclosure did take the Crown by surprise, but only because they had to that point, well into the trial, at least 2 years after he had been retained by the Ministry to provide critical expert testimony, inexplicably in my view, failed to turn their mind to it,” said Wilkie.
Keith admits he himself was responsible for a about nine days of the delay in August 2015 due to a scheduling issue, but other than that, the judge said when it came to the defence, “there was no waiver and no tactic calculated to cause delay.”
It then took about a year from the time the expert first gave evidence to get him back on the witness stand.
“Even the witness himself seemed surprised that he had never been asked to produce his work product beforehand or to bring supporting documentation with him to court,” Wilkie stated in his decision. “And of course when alerted to the issue, the Crown readily agreed that the defence was entitled to disclosure of the material and conceded the case would have to be adjourned to enable the defence to receive and review it.”
The net delay was at least 60 months — 41 months above the presumptive ceiling.
As Jordan was decided the first week of July 2016 and the Stephenson’s case started in December 2014, the Crown had argued the Jordan 18-month rule didn’t apply.
But the judge disagreed, even noting that the Region of Niagara was not one where a culture of long delays was the norm.
“Ultimately, the right to trial within a reasonable period of time of the accused, be it individual or corporate, is superseding the social interest of a trial going to final decision,” says Keith.
The Crown for the Ministry of Labour was contacted for comment but a response was not received by time of posting.
Manitoba tables bill to freeze public-sector wages, Canadian Press
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B.C. man shot by police repeatedly stabbed himself before shooting: witnesses, Canadian Press
FBI director Comey confirms Russia election probe, says Moscow backed Trump, Reuters
U.S. restricts electronics from 10 airports, mainly in Middle East, Reuters
U.S. considers broad sanctions on North Korea: U.S. official, Reuters
Israel says 2016 death of Hezbollah's top military commander was inside job, Reuters
- ‘The next time anyone at Legal Aid Ontario tells you they’re short of money, don’t believe it’
|Sharon Shore says a recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruling shows a judge’s ‘frustration with the current system and a problem that we know exists as far as access to justice.’|
In the case, a 32-year-old woman, Noora Abdulaali, alleged she had been assaulted by her former husband, and harassed after leaving him.
The 43-year-old man, Kadhim Salih, said he feared his former wife would fabricate allegations against him.
The couple had no shared property and no children, noted Pazaratz.
“The next time anyone at Legal Aid Ontario tells you they’re short of money, don’t believe it. It can’t possibly be true. Not if they’re funding cases like this,” Pazaratz said the ruling.
Abdulaali was represented by duty counsel paid by Legal Aid Ontario, while Salih was represented with his own lawyer, paid for by Legal Aid Ontario.
Pazaratz was critical of the case for multiple reasons, and said it was “hardly worth a written endorsement.” However, as Pazaratz explained in the ruling, it blossomed into an ongoing battle after Abdulaali pursued a restraining order against Salih.
The two, who now live in separate cities, were unable to agree on a court order that they would stay away from each other — even if binding on both of them.
“Many taxpayers can’t afford their own lawyers, and don’t qualify for free assistance through Legal Aid. So they end up representing themselves in court. Or facing financial reality and settling without going to court,” he says, in the ruling.
“But when you pay no taxes and Legal Aid gives you a free lawyer, there’s no incentive to be sensible. Why worry about the cost when some unsuspecting taxpayer out there is footing the bill?
Ultimately, Pazaratz suggested the parties and counsel involved have a discussion to see if they could reach a “sensible resolution” — and if not, that he “would formally request that the Area Director of Legal Aid Ontario attend. . .to justify the obscene expenditure of tax money on a simple case with such an obvious solution.”
“I made a fuss. I told them to stop wasting money. So they settled,” said Pazaratz.
“But why do we have a system in which so much tax money gets wasted, unless someone takes the time to make a fuss?”
For its part, Legal Aid Ontario said in an email statement it could not go into the details of the case.
“Legal Aid Ontario offers support to all kinds of vulnerable people,” said spokesman Graeme Burk.
“The privacy rules governing our actions means we cannot comment on the specifics of this case. However, our role has been, and continues to be, helping our clients access justice and navigate the legal system.”
Sharon Shore, partner at Epstein Cole LLP and chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Family Law Section, says “what we’re hearing is [Pazaratz’s] frustration with the current system and a problem that we know exists as far as access to justice.”
“He’s placing the blame on Legal Aid Ontario, but I don’t know that it’s really limited to that issue,” she says. “. . .There is an ongoing problem that a lot of judges and certainly the bar have been working on, as far as what do you do with the self-represented individuals, what do you do with the court system that is lacking in resources.”
Shore says Pazaratz “didn’t need to write” the decision, as it was a consent order.
“He was clearly frustrated and sending a message. It makes you stand up, it makes you listen to it, but I’m not sure that it’s fair to place it entirely on Legal Aid,” she says.
“I think it’s a frustration with the system.”
Jonathan Richardson, with Augustine Bater Binks LLP in Ottawa, said the ruling is “one of the bluntest decisions I have ever read.”
“It shows the difficulties present in the legal aid system and the balancing act legal aid lawyers have to maintain,” he says. However, he adds, “it is fair to point out that the presence of legal aid has not made this particular dispute any worse.”
“Given the circumstances described, it is likely the same steps would have been taken and the same court costs incurred if both parties were self-represented. . .what the case does speak to is the need for early intervention and triage in family law cases so that cases such as these can be worked out of the system at an early stage and without the need to use up court resources which could be better focused elsewhere,” he says.
St. Catharines, Ont., man wanted for murder in death of stepson, Canadian Press
Coroners inquest to probe fatal police-involved shooting in Surrey, B.C., Canadian Press
Woman distributed intimate photos of former husband with another woman: police, Canadian Press
Lawmakers seek FBI, NSA answers on Trump, Russia at rare public hearing, Reuters
Trump's Supreme Court nominee to face senators in marathon hearing, Reuters
Malaysia says it intercepted North Korean arms shipment to Thailand in 2011, Reuters
Britain's May to launch EU divorce proceedings on March 29, Reuters
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