Law Times

April 15, 2013

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 19

VULNERABLE WORKERS DUAL ROLE Report calls for legislative reform Follow LAW TIMES on $4.00 • Vol. 24, No. 13 P4 FOCUS ON Lawyer touts firm, in-house job at same time P7 Class Actions l Aw TIMes P8 Litigation Support Scan. Code. Load e: CO V E R I N G O N TA R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W. L AW T I M E S N E W S . CO M ntitled-7 1 April 15, 2013 Court upholds terror-finance exemption 13-04-08 11:11 A Ruling considers federal law's impact on independence of bar BY YAMRI TADDESE Law Times I n a decision that could have implications for the legal profession across Canada, the B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled the government's terrorismfinancing and money-laundering laws infringe on the independence of the bar. On April 4, the appeal court upheld a lower court's finding that lawyers should be exempt from the regulations under Canada's  Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act that give the government the right to peer into lawyers' financial transactions to detect and investigate suspicious transfers. The Federation of the Law Societies of Canada succeeded in 2011 in convincing the Supreme Court of British Columbia that lawyers should be exempt from those rules as they compromise the rights of individuals to a confidential relationship with their counsel. In the decision this month, B.C. appeal court Justice Christopher Hinkson ruled in favour of lawyers who said they shouldn't have to act as agents of the state. "I agree with the chambers judge that the liberty interests of both lawyers and clients are engaged by the impugned provisions in a manner which does not accord with principles of fundamental justice," wrote Hinkson. The decade-old Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act states that authorized persons, including those acting as legal counsel, will abide by "record keeping and client identification The appeal court decision isn't a barrier to the government's efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, says Ron Skolrood. requirements for financial services providers and other persons or entities that engage in businesses, professions or activities that are susceptible to being used for money laundering or the financing of terrorist activities." Under the act, information gathered by lawyers would be available to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. Lawyers would also have to report suspicious financial transactions. The government appealed the original ruling, arguing the B.C. Supreme Court judge had interpreted the regime incorrectly. It also argued the records it's interested in are minor facts that aren't more than "tombstone information." Hinkson disagreed. "I am not persuaded that the regime only requires lawyers to record 'tombstone' information," he wrote. "I am satisfied that the regime potentially facilitates state access to information which is prima facie the subject of solicitor-client confidentiality," he added. The issue posed by the act goes beyond solicitorclient privilege, says Ron Skolrood, a partner with Lawson Lundell LLP in Vancouver who acted for the Canadian Bar Association as intervener in the case. "There are categories of information that may not meet the legal test for privilege, but yet clients still have an expectation that what they say to their lawyers and the information they share will remain confidential," he says. "If they don't have the expectation that it will remain confidential and believe that their information will be available to the state, that interferes with solicitor-client relationships." See Decision, page 5 Law schools, licensing face transformation: Conway For Law Times The articling debate has prompted 'a broader discussion about legal education in Canada,' says Tom Conway. OTTAWA — Law schools and legal licensing will look very different in a few years than they do today, says the treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Speaking to students at the University of Ottawa's law faculty on April 3, LSUC Treasurer Thomas Conway said there's a move afoot across Canada to transform the way lawyers get their licences. New law schools are emerging and law societies are getting hundreds of applications from those who have studied overseas and want to practise in Canada. "I think in 10 or 15 years we are going to see a licensing process nationwide that is very, very different from what we have now, very different from what we have had for 70 years," said Conway. "I think we're probably going to see formal legal education in the law schools will be very different as well for a number of reasons." Conway said it all started with the debate over what to do about the growing shortage of articling positions for young law school graduates. When the law society began looking at that question, about 12 per cent of students couldn't find articling positions. That number has now risen to roughly 15 per cent of graduates. However, the discussion quickly moved beyond the question of articling positions, he noted. "One of the unintended consequences of the discussion, I think, was a broader discussion about legal education in Canada." The debate about articling, training, and what skills a lawyer needs in order to practise in 2013 is a discussion the legal profession hasn't had for "generations," said Conway. The influx of internationally trained lawyers has also prompted the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to take a closer look at the criteria for a Canadian common law degree, according to Conway. The result was the federation realized that the admissions criteria, curriculum, and teaching philosophies were very different from PM #40762529 BY ELIzABETH THOMPSON See Demand, page 5 Get more online • Fresh Canadian legal news and analysis every day Canadian Lawyer | Law Times | 4Students | InHouse | Legal Feeds Visit Us Online 1-8-5X.indd 1 2/28/11 2:37:34 PM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Times - April 15, 2013