Legal Feeds Blog
Mississauga mayor targeted by taxpayer, Toronto Star
Ont. judge to rule on testimony in suicide bullying case, National Post
N.B. anti-bullying group seeks intervener status in SCC case, CBC News
Calif. court weighs in on health benefits for retirees, Reuters
Woman disappears after appearing on The People's Court, Reuters
Gaddafi's son may be tried in Libya: ICC prosecutor, Reuters
AG takes Sky News to court for reporting kidnap release too soon, Reuters
|Lawyers per 10,000 census population. credit: Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project|
“We now have access to hard data that can be used to identify the civil legal needs of Ontario’s low- and middle-income communities, as well as the distribution of legal service providers available to meet those needs. We have not had access to this type of data before,” McMurtry noted at the report’s release.
The geography report examines and compares the demographic characteristics of the Ontario population and the distribution of legal services, to create a detailed picture of the market for civil legal services across Ontario.
“Some of the larger, more rural areas appear underserviced at first glance but actually have a good number of lawyers and paralegals compared to the population. This is encouraging news since we may be able to use existing legal service providers to improve access to civil legal services,” says John McCamus, the chairman of Legal Aid Ontario.
The research also shows that almost half the lawyers in the province provide some pro bono or free legal services. “An unexpected, positive finding was the high per centage of lawyers - 46.7 per cent in 2009 - who provide some level of pro bono or free legal services,” says Osgoode Hall Law School dean Lorne Sossin. “While there are still questions about the nature of those services, we can use this information to further engage the profession in access to justice solutions.”
Read next week’s Law Times for more details and analysis of the report.
|The City of Toronto regularly spends more than other Ontario municipalities on legal costs measured per $1,000 in municipal operating and capital expenditures. Photo: Loimere|
Toronto, however, was regularly above its counterparts with a cost of $7.24 per $1,000 in 2008, a number that dropped to $4.21 in 2010. Windsor, meanwhile, spent $4.83 in 2008 but towered over all of the other municipalities measured in 2009 at $8.29. The number fell back to $4.90 in 2010. Barrie, Ont., Durham Region, Niagara Region, and Waterloo Region, all came in well under the median.
Cities’ legal budgets have been in the news a fair bit lately. In Cornwall, Ont., for example, attention has focused on a high-profile whistleblowing case in which the city pleaded guilty to retaliating against an employee who complained about an incident of nursing home abuse.
The employee, Diane Shay, eventually got her job back, but the charges against the city cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, according to the Cornwall Standard Freeholder. Much of the money went to Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP, the city revealed last week. It also faced legal fees of $67,518 in relation to a human rights case over discrimination against an employee on the basis of disability.
A report in the National Post last week, meanwhile, noted the City of Toronto spends more than 1,400 lawyer days a year at or preparing for Ontario Municipal Board cases.
The benchmarking report notes cities have restrained their in-house legal budgets since 2008. It found that the legal operating costs per in-house lawyer hour fell to $127 last year from $141 in 2008. Toronto, in general, had the highest costs at $222 in 2008 and $146 in 2009, although data for 2010 for that city wasn’t available. The most frugal in-house legal spender last year was Waterloo at $113.
But as for external legal budgets, cities weren’t able to cut costs despite efforts such as the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Value Challenge. The study put the median external legal cost per external lawyer hour at $370 in 2010. That’s up from $346 in 2008. Again, Toronto topped the list at $556 in 2008, a number that rose to $615 in 2009. (That city didn’t have data for 2010.) Despite being one of the province’s biggest cities, Ottawa came out lowest on that score at $247.
York Region cop charged with sexual assault, CityNews
RCMP heads to appeal court for right to unionize, Toronto Star
Judge orders Occupy Toronto protesters to leave park, CBC News
N.Y. police arrest man in terrorism bomb plot, Reuters
ACLU sues Nebraska for not issuing pot-promoting licence plate, Reuters
Swiss court rejects nude hiker's appeal, Reuters
Ex-Khmer Rouge commanders face war crimes trial, Reuters
According to Ontario Superior Court Justice Sidney Lederman’s Nov. 10 decision in Soteropoulos v. Charles, Michael Charles represented Vasiliki Soteropoulos in family law litigation between 2006 and 2008, before Soteropoulos retained a new lawyer in August 2008.
Charles acted for Soteropoulos in an unsuccessful mediation, which was followed by an adverse arbitration award as well as a costs order against her. The arbitration was unsuccessfully appealed and in April 2008, Charles suggested his client find a new lawyer.
Soteropoulos claimed the mental distress caused by the lost appeal rendered her unable to effectively consult with a new lawyer until early 2009. In March of that year, her new lawyer told her she might have a case against Charles. By that time, her ex-husband was threatening to stop support payments, a move the original arbitrator granted in May 2009. Another appeal was later abandoned on the advice of the new lawyer, according to Lederman’s decision.
Soteropoulos made a complaint about Charles to the Law Society of Upper Canada in January 2010 after an initial review of her file. But in her statement of claim, filed in May 2011, she said that it wasn’t until October or November of 2010 that she could “fully appreciate the nature and extent of the defendant’s negligence and the damage done to her,” due to the precariousness of her mental and emotional state. She blamed her former lawyer for the adverse results, alleging he failed to follow her instructions in the mediation and arbitration.
Despite her claim not to fully appreciate her situation, Lederman found that the limitation began to run in March 2009 when Soteropoulos “had knowledge of the material facts on which the claim would be based following the advice she was given by her new counsel.” That meant her filing in May 2011 came two months too late, and the claim was statue barred. Charles was also awarded $3,000 costs on a partial indemnity basis.
Toronto court lets Occupy protesters stay until hearing is held, Reuters
Ontario couple heading for jail in animal cruelty case, The Globe and Mail
Desire to control future reason for assisted suicide requests, B.C. court hears, The Globe and Mail
Gay marriage case back in California Supreme Court, Reuters
Supreme Court to decide fate of Obama's healthcare reform law, Reuters
Court clerk jailed in first case under new UK bribery laws, Reuters
Sion loses against FIFA in court, Reuters
In Elgner v. Elgner, the Supreme Court dismissed Claude Elgner’s application for leave to appeal after he was ordered to pay a record-breaking interim spousal support order of $110,000 per month. He was also ordered to pay retroactive support of $3.36 million to his ex-wife.
Claude argued that under s. 21(1) of the federal Divorce Act, he could appeal the order as of right, which would overrule Ontario’s Courts of Justice Act. Section 21(1) states that “an appeal lies to the appellate court from any judgment or order, whether final or interim rendered or made by a court under this act.”
But the Ontario Court of Appeal disagreed, referring to s. 21(6) of the Divorce Act, which states that an appeal “shall be asserted, heard and decided according to the ordinary procedure governing appeals to the appellate court from the court rendering the judgment or making the order being appealed.”
Courts in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Quebec have ruled that leave is not required to appeal interim orders under the Divorce Act. However, courts in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have made rulings in line with Ontario.
“It’s now clear in the province of Ontario that if you want to appeal an interim order under the Divorce Act, you need leave of the Divisional Court to get that right of appeal,” says Charles Beall of Bales Beall LLP, who represented the husband.
“[W]hatever ambiguity existed or difference of opinion existed, it’s been made clear,” he adds.
Golnaz Simaei, who represented Carol Ann Elgner with Julie Hannaford, says the SCC’s dismissal is significant as it allows the provinces to make their own interpretation of a federal statute. “In our view, what the Supreme Court of Canada is saying is that the Ontario Court of Appeal got it exactly right, which is that the provinces have the right and the discretion to control their own processes in determining whether or not leave should be required to appeal an interim order or not.”
(l to r) WeirFoulds LLP associate Candace Cooper, Justice Canada lawyer Cherylyn Dickson, and WeirFoulds associate Stephanie Turnham.
Guests place bids on items in the silent auction.
(l to r) McCarthy Tétrault LLP associate Melissa Arruda, Capp Shupak lawyer Jennifer Shupak, and RBC consultant Ilana Lipkin.
(l to r) Norton Rose lawyer Josie Caldas with Gardiner Roberts LLP articling students Brenda Rego and Hero Tselepakis.
(l to r) Centre for Addiction and Mental Health counsel Jean Buie, Tim Hortons counsel Sara Diament, and Toronto Transit Commission counsel Laura Qaqish.
Young Women in Law president and founding member Danielle Traub introduces Belinda Stronach.
"We have to invest in girls and women," says Belinda Stronach as she discusses the importance of her foundation and the G(irls)20 Summit.
(l to r) University of Toronto third-year law students Atrisha Lewis and Dharshini Vigneshwaran with McCarthys articling student Jennifer Organ.
Guests mingle at Ultra in Toronto.
Representing Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (l to r): Jennifer Prieto, Andrea Linden, Jim Bunting, Alexandra Sadvari, Ioana Hancas, Erika Douglas, and Matt Himel.
Men also showed their support; Richard Butler, left, and Joshua Normanton of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.
Faskens articling students Marc Rodrigue and Fida Hindi.
All photos by Heather Gardiner.
Montreal AG takes city to court, CTV News
Edmonton hostage-taker faces sentencing, The Globe and Mail
Ex-soldier found guilty in reservist's shooting death, Toronto Star
N.Y. court upholds workers' compensation law, Reuters
ABA considers ditching tenure requirement for law schools, Reuters
Former Rwanda mayor convicted of genocide, Reuters
EU court adviser says Poland, Estonia can set CO2 quotas, Reuters
Tapping into that, the Archives of Ontario is hosting a touring exhibit of mug shots from the Ontario Provincial Police Museum. There are 100 historical pics of “general ruffians of both genders, arrested for crimes ranging from pickpocketing and forgery to opium eating and murder” taken between 1886 and 1908.
The Arresting Images exhibit runs at the archives, which is located on the cmapus of York University in Toronto, until Dec. 9.
Checking out the photos will be interesting but the exhibit has also inspired York to put on a couple of fascinating panel discussion that include professors from Osgoode Hall Law School as well as York’s faculties of liberal arts and fine arts. So if you have a couple of hours on the afternoons of Nov. 21 or Nov. 29, it might be fun to spend them at these free lectures.
|Lillie Williams (alias Harrington), a housekeeper, was arrested in 1901 on suspicion of an unidentified crime. Photo: OPP Museum|
The second panel, Busted: The Enduring Allure of the Mug Shot, focuses more on the visual aspects of the collection and features visual arts professors Katherine Knight, Sarah Parson, and Carol Zemel. The panellists will “bring to the table their distinctive interests and ways of viewing these images through the lens of the artis, theorist, and cultural historian.” Bulger Gallery presidnet Stephen Bulger will moderate this panel, which takes place at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 also at the archives.
For more information on the panels, click here.
Subscribe to Legal Feeds
Gail J. Cohen