Legal Feeds Blog
|Architect's rendition of new U of T law building. Illustration: Hariri Pontarini|
So far more than $37 million has been raised from the University of Toronto and its alumni. Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Torys LLP have generously donated more than $2 million each to the campaign. The faculty has also received individual alumni contributions of $1 million or more from Henry N. R. Jackman, former lieutenant governor of Ontario and a former University of Toronto chancellor; John Schumacher, founding partner of East Coast Fund Management Inc.; and David Asper, former executive vice president of Canwest Global Communications Corp.
The new building, designed by Toronto architectural firm Hariri Pontarini, is expected to increase space by 50 per cent. It will include a multi-storey wing on Queen’s Park Crescent, extensive renovations to the Bora Laskin law library, and minor renovations to the historic Flavelle House.
Three external reviews and student feedback revealed that the current physical facilities were hindering the faculty’s research and leadership capabilities.
“Nothing is as important to the future of this incredible institution as physical renewal,” said U of T law dean Mayo Moran at the launch on Nov. 29. “We are so grateful for the extraordinary generosity of the law firms and individuals who have come forward so early in the campaign to support our aspirations.”
Man. court orders new trial in controversial rape case, The Vancouver Sun
B.C. court strikes down part of roadside suspension law, The Province
Federal appeal court reserves judgment in killer whale case, The Vancouver Sun
Ex-lawyer gets 6-month jail term for insider trading, Reuters
Hedge fund founder seeks delay of prison sentence, Reuters
Muslim student can't pray at school: German court, Reuters
Philippine court orders ex-president to move to public hospital, Reuters
- Lawyers don blue ribbons and rally to support better legal aid funding
|More than 100 Vancouver lawyers, including with Phil Rankin, centre, and Samiran Lakshman, representing the B.C. Crown Counsel Association, pinned blue ribbons to their robes to protest legal aid cuts. Photo: Jean Sorensen|
The rally, which drew 100 lawyers in afternoon sunshine, was one of four held in B.C. with the others in Victoria, Kamloops, and Penticton.
“We are off on a journey and we don’t know where it will go but doing nothing has not worked,” Rankin told the crowds. Beginning in January, duty counsel will withdraw services for a week, escalating to two weeks in February, three in March, and four in April. After that complete services will be withdrawn. Similar actions have occurred in Ontario and Quebec.
Rankin said the intent was not to “jam the system” but to restore the funding that was intended from the seven-per-cent surcharge placed on legal bills to fund legal aid in the province. All those have not been directed to legal aid since the surcharge was placed in 1992, he claimed.
“The government has collected billions and returned only a few million,” he said. He estimated only 25 to 50 per cent of these collected funds went back to legal aid.
The impact of these cuts have been felt throughout the court system, he said as low-income individuals cannot get representation, are forced to self-represent, delay proceedings, and often rely upon the judge to explain the court system and law.
“Thousands of hours of judges’ time has been wasted explaining to people what the process is,” said Rankin, whose father Harry was instrumental in starting a legal aid system in B.C. 20 years ago.
“It was a fair better system then, than what we currently have, “ he said.
Stephanie Vyas, a trial lawyer and rally organizer, said cuts that started in the 2000-2005 period slashed 40 per cent of the budget with 45 Legal Services Society offices reduced to seven regional offices.
“Poverty law and family law cases were almost totally eliminated,” she said.
From 2005 to 2010, five of the seven LSS offices were eliminated with only criminal cases handled.
“Last year, Leonard Doust [in his report on legal aid in B.C.] said B.C. seriously lags behind other provincial systems,” she told the crowd. She said Doust’s report claims that legal aid is an essential service and that today’s system was “failing the most disadvantaged in the community.”
Samiran Lakshman, president of the B.C. Crown Counsel Association, said the lack of funding undermined the judicial system which was based on equal representation from both sides. When individuals can not get representation, it “makes a mockery of the system”.
“Defense and Crown lawyers stand together to ask that funding be restored,” he said.
The speakers drew applause from colleagues and other special interest groups attending the rally. Lawyer Lawrence Myers attending the rally said: “It is not about lawyers and their fees. It is about those often disenfranchised groups in B.C. — women, children, the poor, and the mentally ill.”
At the same time, he said, having proper representation for these individuals ensure that the court systems not only deal fairly but efficiently with cases.
Rankin, speaking to Legal Feeds, said the lack of legal aid funding is also affecting the supply of criminal lawyers, as law firms cannot afford to have articling students.
“There are few slots [for articling students] and the fees are low. In some criminal law firms, as much as 80 per cent can be legal aid. If you can’t afford to pay someone, then how can you mentor and produce criminal lawyers,” he said.
Halifax cancer victim seeks damages over firing, The Chronicle-Herald
B.C. lawyers set to rally for more legal aid funding, The Vancouver Sun
Man. couple who hosted party fined over teen's death, CBC News
Ala. official loses apppeal to overturn corruption conviction, Reuters
Investment group can't sue law firm over Dreier fraud: court, Reuters
Australian court overturns competition watchdog's decision, Reuters
Ivory Coast ex-president charged with crimes against humanity, Reuters
“When senior management takes an active interest in fraud within their organization and takes strong disciplinary action towards the perpetrators, the right ‘tone at the top’ is established,” says Steven Henderson, national forensic services leader at PwC in Canada. “A corporate culture that clearly stresses the importance of integrity, where executives are seen as walking the talk and that has a well-communicated and comprehensive anti-fraud regime, is less likely to be victimized by economic crime.”
When it comes to what kind of fraud is of most concern, the perceived risk of cybercrime to Canadian organizations is on the rise according to a new PwC report on economic crime.
The 2011 Global Economic Crime Survey ranks cybercrime as one of the top four economic crimes (23 per cent), slightly behind accounting fraud and bribery, and corruption (24 per cent). Theft is the top crime, reported by 72 per cent of organizations around the world that were victims of economic crime in the past year.
Overall, 32 per cent of the Canadian respondents from business and government said they were victims of some form of economic crime during the past 12 months, a decrease of 24 per cent from PwC’s 2009 survey. “Canada has historically reported higher instances of white-collar crime than our global counterparts but the 2011 results show that we are now reporting fewer instances,” says Henderson.
This could be happening for a few reasons such as better diligence in implementing anti-fraud regimes within companies, the Canadian economy being stronger over the past two years than other countries, resulting in an environment with less visibility of fraud which normally arises during a downturn, or the fact that cybercrime or collusion between parties are still being committed but are inherently more difficult to detect.
When it comes to cybercrime, 38 per cent of Canadian respondents believe the perception of its risks has increased and the majority (57 per cent) think the greatest threats are coming from outside their Canadian organizations and abroad. Globally, countries reported as the top five most likely places that cybercrime originates from are: Hong Kong and China, India, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States.
“Cybercrime is global in nature and traditional geographic borders do not provide protection,” says Henderson. “Organizations should have a clear understanding of current and emerging cybercrime threats, and management needs to understand the risks and opportunities that are inherent in a cyber world.”
However, while companies may recognize the significance of protecting and investigating cybercrime incidents, only 36 per cent of the Canadian respondents said they have in-house capabilities to investigate cybercrime and less than half have access to forensic technology investigators who can create effective response mechanisms and policies.
In addition, nearly half of the Canadian organizations reported that they had not received cyber security related awareness training in the past year. Only 21 per cent said that senior executives review the risks that cybercrime presents on an annual basis, further supporting the more “reactive culture” to crime prevention found in the survey results.
More traditional types of fraud such as theft are most often being committed within the company, by employees (56 per cent), while external fraudsters were the main perpetrator 40 per cent of the time, according to global respondents.
The typical internal fraudster was profiled to be male (77 per cent), between the ages of 31 and 40 years old (43 per cent), a first-degree graduate (37 per cent) and had been employed with the organization between three and five years (30 per cent). In addition, 39 per cent of the perpetrators were classified as junior staff, 41 per cent as middle management, and 18 per cent as senior management.
“Crimes by senior management tend to be more sophisticated, larger in dollar value, and more difficult to detect,” says Henderson. “This could be a factor in why frauds committed by senior management were not identified nearly as often as those committed by more junior staff.”
When employees have been identified as committing economic crimes, they are most often dismissed from their jobs (77 per cent). Forty-four per cent of the time law enforcement is involved and in 40 per cent of the incidents, civil action is taken.
The 2011 survey was completed by 3,877 respondents from 78 countries. Of the total number of respondents, 52 per cent were senior executives, 36 per cent represented listed companies and 38 per cent represented organizations with more than 1,000 employees.
This year’s Canadian report is divided into two sections: cybercrime and awareness of the crime, how it impacts organizations, and what actions are taken to address risks; and fraud, the fraudster, and the defrauded, including the types of fraud committed, who is committing them, how they are detected, and actions taken by organizations in response.
B.C. court dismisses couple's snake case, Toronto Sun
Mining company, First Nation seek injunctions, The Globe and Mail
Mother accused of killing baby claims Crown withheld key evidence, The Globe and Mail
Court delays AT&T-T-Mobile merger hearing, Reuters
Judge rejects proposed Citigroup-SEC settlement, orders trial, Reuters
Irish court orders ex-tycoon to pay back 1.7B euros, Reuters
Norwegian mass murderer found insane, could avoid jail, Reuters
|Superior Court Justice David Brown says charging higher fees will make litigants more thoughtful as to the use of court time. Photo: Gail J. Cohen|
But the dispute has since become bogged down in disputes over document production. In June, for example, the court ordered the defendants to provide information about its customers within 10 days of an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in the case. The appeal court issued written reasons dismissing the appeal on Sept. 6, but First Maintenance and Vratsidas have only partially complied with the court order given their concern that the plaintiff is a competitor, Brown noted. In his ruling last week, Brown, citing the plaintiff’s agreement to restrict access to the documents to its own counsel, said the defendants had breached the court’s order.
In response, Brown threatened to strike Vratsidas’ and First Maintenance’s defences. But instead, he granted the plaintiff access to the materials in question subject to the proposed restrictions. In doing so, he ordered the parties to meet by Dec. 7 in order to come up with a discovery plan, detail any motions they’re considering, address any unpaid costs awards, and come up with a date by which they’ll be ready to set the matter down for trial. At the same time, they must file a joint litigation plan by Dec. 9.
In issuing his ruling, Brown referred to strongly worded comments he has made about civil litigation in the past, including a paper he wrote in May on the sacred cows of the justice system he believes it’s time to do away with. Among his proposals, he would institute pricing for judicial time. In a wrongful dismissal action, for example, parties would have the right to one motion before trial. If they want to bring a second motion, they’d have to pay a higher filing fee. At the same time, he’d introduce incentives to move things along by granting priority in getting hearing dates for parties who agree to follow the rules.
“At the present time, the Superior Court of Justice is operating under conditions of scarcity of judicial resources relative to the demands generated by litigants in the system,” Brown writes in Atlas. “Just as when the price of gasoline increases, those who drive cars think a bit more carefully about how much to use the car and take some care in mapping out more efficient routes to follow when they do drive, so too, if the fees for hearings increase in proportion to the length of hearings, I have no doubt that litigants and their counsel will think more carefully about how to use hearing time.
“Under the present fee structure, they can essentially treat judicial time as free, and we are now witnessing chronic waste and misuse of judicial time by those who use the civil court system.”
Lansdowne Park development case in Court of Appeal, CBC News
B.C. farm owners fined for toxic leak that killed 3 workers, Metro
N.B. court upholds police program for driver drug impairment, Telegraph-Journal
Wyclef Jean misused Haiti relief money: report, The Gazette
Syracuse basketball coach fired amid sex investigation, Reuters
UAE pardons activists who insulted leaders, Reuters
Kenyan court orders Sudanese president's arrest, Reuters
WeirFoulds LLP articling students Anastasija Sumakova (r) and Katharine Montpetit (c) pose with their friend Rachel Godley.
WeirFoulds articling student Suki Dulay (r) with Andrea Lischka (c) and Jacqueline Liberty of Cancer Care Ontario.
(l to r) Heenan Blaikie articling students Shimmy Posen, Martin Mendelzon, Daniel Mayer, Oana Chivaran, and Greg McLean (who was also one of the organizers).
(l to r) Borden Ladner Gervais LLP articling student Katherine Spassov, Owens Wright LLP articling student Sydney Kert, and Brown & Burnes articling student Alexander Hara.
Young professionals mingle in the lower level of Devil's Martini.
The event was organized to support Give a Day, which recognizes World AIDS Day.
Guests place bids on items in the silent auction.
(l to r) Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP articling students David Solomon, Sean McDermott, Tanya DeMello, and Carey O'Connor.
(l to r) Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP articling students Andrea Bunerc and Tali Eliav, associates Myroslav Chualuk and Jennifer Sorge, and articling students Sarah McKinnon, Melissa Wright, and Afzal Hasan.
( l to r) Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP associates Sébastian Kwidzinski and Chris Rae, articling student Laverne Chow, and associate Brian Kolenda.
All photos by Heather Gardiner.
SCC clears way for government to fine U.S. Steel, Reuters
Top court to hear appeal in B.C. malpractice lawsuit, The Vancouver Sun
Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal of cheese rules, The Globe and Mail
Egypt releases 3 U.S. students arrested in protest, Reuters
Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of woman at hospital, Washington Post
Ex-Italian PM's bid to block trial hearing rejected, Reuters
ISPs can't be forced to monitor users, EU court rules, Reuters
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Gail J. Cohen