Legal Feeds Blog
1. The Top 25 Most Influential 2014 Always the most-read story of the year in Canadian Lawyer, the 2014 iteration celebrated some amazing lawyers in five categories: corporate-commercial law; changemakers; criminal and human rights law; government, associations, and non-profits including public inquiries and officers of Parliament; and the all-new world stage.
2. Is ‘express entry’ the solution to Canada’s immigration issues? Immigration Line columnist Jennifer Nees' column about changes to Canada's immigration policies hit a nerve.
3. Frankenstorm brings down Heenan Blaikie Canadian Lawyer's July 2014 cover story that looked deeply into the myriad reasons that led to the largest collapse of a law firm in Canadian history.
4. The next big flameout? The Back Page column from the Jan. 2014 issue of Canadian Lawyer that started to ask the tough questions about what exactly was going on at Heenan Blaikie.
5. Facing challenges head on: Canadian Lawyer's top litigation, business immigration, and commercial real estate boutiques.
6. It’s a ‘tragedy’ but business is about the work, not the brand In-house lawyers respond to the demise of Heenan Blaikie.
7. The trouble with criminal speech One of the country's most misunderstood laws.
8. Heenan articling students forced to find new placements Everyone was affected when the firm shuttered its doors.
9. Infographic: Tuition v. salary What you will pay for a law school education versus what you'll earn across the country.
10. Shifting sands: Canadian Lawyer's top intellectual property and labour & employment law boutiques.
11. Cracking the system: How do we get more diversity on the bench when there’s no transparency in the appointments process?
Man involved in Whitecourt RCMP shooting charged, Calgary Herald
Man who struck a bus shelter with his vehicle injuring two people has been charged, Toronto Star
Brian McGarry strongly disagrees with various allegations made by former wife in court, Ottawa Citizen
Texas woman charged in connection with murders of multiple people to plead guilty, Reuters
Teen charged with arson executed during protests in St. Louis, Reuters
Bahrain court sentences men to death for killing police officer, Reuters
China to publish details of legal religious venues online to stop illegal religious activity, Reuters
1. How did Heenan Blaikie fall so quickly?
And don't forget to check out Law Times Top newsmakers, stories, and cases of 2014.
|Eddie Greenspan 1944-2014 (Photo: Law Times archives)|
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our senior partner, friend and father Eddie Greenspan,” his law firm Greenspan Partners announced on Twitter this morning.
Some of his most famous clients include Conrad Black, with whom the relationship was not 100-per-cent amicable, Garth Drabinsky, Robert Latimer, Karlheinz Schreiber, and members of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
He has been a mentor, teacher, and inspiration to lawyers in Canada for decades and has received numerous accolades from the profession including a number of honourary doctor of laws as well as the Law Society Medial in 2013, the Advocates’ Society Medal in 2009, and the G. Arthur Medal in 2001. His is also a long-time editor of Canada Law Book's Martin's Criminal Code.
Upon receiving the Law Society Medal, Greenspan said this of his life as a lawyer:
The idea of the lawyer – the classical, central idea — that is — of the lawyer battling in the criminal courts – corresponds to a universal trait in the human family. I was irresistibly attracted to the lawyer’s role in that ultimate sense. I am happy in the role. It permits me to be both cynic and idealist. As a criminal lawyer, I have come to learn that things are seldom what they seem. No frailty surprises the criminal lawyer. Indeed, surprise is reserved for occasional confrontations of virtue. Nothing gives the criminal lawyer more pleasure and satisfaction than to win a difficult case against the pressure of inflamed opinion, vindicating the stirring principles of the legal tradition against all odds. Criminal lawyers have the blood of Don Quixote in their veins. Criminal lawyers demonstrate that an honourable lawyer can have an exciting life representing persons accused of crime.
Greenspan earned his LLB at Osgoode Hall Law School in 1968 and was called to the bar of Ontario in 1970 and Alberta in 1987. He was named Queen’s Counsel in 1982
His memorial will be held Dec. 28 at Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel in Toronto. More details to come.
Reaction from the legal community and beyond poured in on Twitter.
Updated 12:45: More details added.
In 2013, the Law Society of Upper Canada spent over $340,000 on costs associated with call to the bar ceremonies. As the number of candidates eligible for call to the bar increases every year, the law society has had to increase the number of call to the bar ceremonies at an additional cost. A fourth ceremony planned in Toronto for June 2015 comes at an estimated cost of at least $42,000. Here's the prediction on the number of candidates who will be eligible for call to the bar in the coming years.
Canadian speedskater files lawsuit for injury sustained when struck from behind by another speedskater, Calgary Herald
Costs exceed $1 million for court-appointed receiver and lawyers in Golden Oaks Enterprises bankruptcy case, Ottawa Citizen
Former butcher-shop owner sentenced to prison for sexually touching a minor, The Province
Judge throws out lawsuit against Barack Obama by Arizona police chief over immigration reforms, Reuters
Judge orders stop to the delivery of medical marijuana by smartphone app company, Reuters
Uber CEO indicted in South Korea for violating law governing public transport, Reuters
China plans tougher penalties in revision of country's air pollution law, Reuters
|Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier. (Photo: Christinne Muschi/Reuters)|
Magnotta was also found guilty of committing an indignity to a human body, publishing and mailing obscene material, and criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament.
The prosecution had argued that Magnotta was “a man on a mission” and had carefully planned his acts.
The verdict came on the 8th day of jury deliberations.
Magnotta, standing in a glassed-in, high-security prisoner’s dock, showed no emotion and only lowered his eyes as the verdicts on each of the five charges were read out.
A first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer, told the court the case “was by all standards unique” and praised the jury.
“We have asked a lot of you but you rose to the occasion and indeed proved that real and substantive justice is a reality,” he said.
The victim’s father, Diran Lin, traveled from China to attend the trial. A lawyer representing him read the father’s statement to the court after the verdict.
“The night Lin Jun died, parts of many other people died in one way or another. His mother, his sister and me, his friends . . . in one night, we lost a lifetime of hope,” the statement said.
“I had come to see your trial system to see justice done, and I leave satisfied that you have not let my son down.”
“We're not really surprised with the verdicts,” Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier said outside the courthouse after the verdict. “We were expecting it and we're very happy.”
“It's always a great feeling for a Crown prosecutor to hear the word 'guilty' come out of the mouth of a juror at the end of a trial,” Bouthillier said. “We’re all very happy, the police officers and I.”
Describing the case as having “very difficult legal issues,” he went on to “salute” the jury for all their work.
The jury had been shown a video of Magnotta’s acts that he had posted online.
The prosecution said that six months before the killing, Magnotta had e-mailed a British journalist to say he planned to kill a human and make a movie of it.
“We had good evidence of premeditation and that the crime was planned and deliberate,” said Bouthillier. “There was never any doubt in my mind that the jury would find Mr. Magnotta guilty of first-degree murder.”
The jury heard that Magnotta, a gay escort, had sought psychiatric help about a month before Lin’s death. Magnotta’s father, who testified at the trial, also has a medical history of schizophrenia.
The case gripped Canada in the spring of 2012 after Lin’s body parts were found in the trash behind a Montreal apartment building and in packages mailed to political parties in Ottawa and to schools in Vancouver.
The mailed packages contained hands and feet wrapped in pink tissue paper as well as notes and poems.
Magnotta fled to Europe after the killing and was arrested in a Berlin Internet cafe, where he was reading about himself.
For six years, Todd Speck worked as a program analyst for the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. He took an educational leave of absence from September 2008 to May 2010 to get his law degree. He continued to work for MOH.
On Feb. 19, 2013, Speck was informed he was being suspended with pay pending an investigation against him under the Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Workplace Violence Prevention Policy.
While under the non-disciplinary suspension from MOH, Speck got an articling job with MAG, to serve at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. A temporary assignment agreement was concluded between MAG, as the receiving ministry, MOH, as the releasing ministry, and Speck in July and August 2013 so Speck could work as an articling student.
On July 29, 2013, Speck started working at FSCO as an articling student and his disciplinary suspension ended. He was alerted to the potential jeopardy to his articling student position as a consequence of the MOH investigation in to his alleged misconduct.
The period of the secondment to MAG/FSCO was from July 29, 2013 until May 30, 2014, to allow Speck to complete his articles. During this period, he was to be under a fixed-term contract. He signed a fresh Conflict of Interest Attestation, completed a fresh Oath of Office and a fresh Oath of Allegiance. That done, his articles officially began July 29, 2013, for 10 months.
While working for MAG at FSCO Speck was subject to the collective agreement between Association of Law Officers of the Crown and the province. Article 5.1 gave just case protection to him. He could be fired only “for just and sufficient cause.”
On Feb. 3, 2014, Speck was advised in writing by MOH that it had completed its investigations determined that he had breached the WDHP policy in various ways. MOH informed him it had concluded his conduct had given just cause for his dismissal and that he was being fired for cause. He was told that he ceased to be employed by the Crown.
At issue in the arbitration was: assuming, for the purposes of the argument, that MOH had just cause to terminate Speck’s employment, is that sufficient by itself to satisfy both the just cause provisions of the ALOC collective agreement and the requirements for articles of the Law Society of Upper Canada?
ALOC, supported by the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario, argued it was not sufficient; the Crown argued it was.
In the decision, arbitrator Christopher Albertyn stated: “There is no suggestion that Mr. Speck engaged in any culpable conduct as an articled student to give his principal or FSCO or MAG just cause to terminate his articles. It is common cause that his articles were terminated only because his employment with the Crown was terminated by MOH. In fact, Mr. Speck was given unqualified letters of commendation for his work as an articling student by his principal and other lawyers he worked for.
However, Albertyn concluded: “Accordingly, on the assumption of just cause for the termination at MOH, that is sufficient to satisfy the just cause provisions of the ALOC collective agreement.”
Albertyn said he rejected the suggestion Speck’s conduct at MOH is akin to off-duty conduct with respect to his employment at MAG.
“MOH and MAG are sections of a single employer. His conduct in one section is directly relevant and germane to his conduct in the other. That is why, under s. 40 of the Act, if there is just cause to dismiss a public servant in any section, in any ministry, the individual is dismissed from the Crown.”
Diplomat’s cook sentenced to prison over charges of sexual interference, Ottawa Citizen
Allegedly radicalized man faces terrorism charge in Montreal, The National Post
Sex abuse accuser drops lawsuit against John Furlong, CBC
Animal cruelty charges against family of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake to be dismissed, Reuters
Three men facing attempted murder charges in a gang-related shooting outside high school, Reuters
French firm Alstom SA pleads guilty and will settle bribery charges, Reuters
China's state prosecutor formally charges son of actor Jackie Chan with drugs offence, Reuters
|Lawyers can no longer bring claims against their clients for non-payment of fees at Ontario’s Small Claims Court for services delivered outside of that court.|
The shift comes after Justice Ian Nordheimer pointed out in an October Divisional Court ruling a little-known section of the Solicitors Act, which states claims for non-payment must go to the Superior Court.
This means law firms, which often send paralegals to Small Claims Court to collect unpaid accounts, now have to pay lawyers to do it, as paralegals don’t have standing at the Superior Court.
“It’s a serious issue,” says Toronto lawyer Ben Hanuka. “The cost of sending a paralegal is significantly lower . . . than the cost of sending a lawyer.”
Hanuka says the matter is one of access to justice, especially for clients who have to retain another lawyer to defend themselves against non-payment claims.
Paralegal Frederick Goodman says the decision will have “a significant impact” on his practice as he often pursues unpaid accounts on behalf of lawyers and law firms.
In Dec. 12’s Dunsmore Law Professional Corp. v. Allegra Homes , Small Claims Court Deputy Justice Paul Martial said it was “abundantly clear” he does not have jurisdiction over the non-payment claim before him.
“In my view, it is abundantly clear on a plain reading of the above sections of the Solicitors Act and the binding decision of Nordheimer, J. that the Superior Court of Justice has exclusive jurisdiction and that the Small Claims Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the plaintiff’s claim for payment of its fees pursuant to a written retainer agreement,” Martial said.
On Oct. 15, Nodheimer said s. 23 of the Solicitors Act requires that an application to enforce of a written legal services agreement must be brought in the court in which the business was done or if the business was not done in court, by the Superior Court of Justice.
“I repeat that s. 23 expressly excludes the Small Claims Court from this authority,” he added.
Nodheimer’s decision is correct based on the law, Hanuka says, but he suggests the law could use a revision, emphasizing any revision has to come after ensuring more training for paralegals.
As to the qualification of deputy judges to make findings on such applications, Hanuka says he doesn’t think deputy judges, “properly informed,” would be any less qualified than assessment officers at the Superior Court.
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Gail J. Cohen