Law Times

January 14, 2008

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Page 0 of 15 McKELLAR STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS INC. 1-800-265-8381 ckellar_LT_Jan14_08.indd 1 1/8/08 3:03:02 PM A. NEUMAN ASSOCIATES INC. Call 416.223.5991 Investigative & Forensic Accounting Specialists Proven Expertise ntitled-6 1 1/8/08 3:28:10 PM $3.55 • Vol. 19, No. 1 Covering Ontario's Legal Scene January 14, 2008 Law Times – Backyard (Front Page Base Bar 1C) * Underwritten by Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO ® ). Contact LAWPRO for brokers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. ® Registered trademark of Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company. Protect your clients. Recommend TitlePLUS ® title insurance. * TitlePLUS title insurance and you, together we make real estate real simple. Visit or call 1-800-410-1013 for more information NICE BACKYARD. Too bad their neighbours have as much right to it as they do. TPLawTimes1CBlue fin 8/22/06 11:46 AM Page 1 Hunter and firm sued over steamy affair OTTAWA — The Law Society of Upper Canada has no plans to beef up a rule governing sexual relations between lawyers and clients, despite a steamy affair that felled former society head George Hunter — an affair that also led to his disciplinary suspension by a law-society tribunal, and has now sparked a $1.4-million lawsuit against both him and one of the largest law firms in Canada. With the recent publicity over a statement of claim filed by 'AB', an anonymous client with whom Hunter was having an affair while campaigning to become the law society's treasurer in 2005, the case has resurfaced. Questions are be- ing raised as to the adequacy of the rule that protects clients, and to the appropriateness of the two-month sus- pension and $2,500 in costs imposed on Hunter by a soci- ety tribunal, after it found him guilty of professional miscon- duct last year. "It is always open to the law society to reconsider its rules of professional con- duct," says Susan Tonkin, the society's c o m m u n i c a t i o n s adviser, in response to questions provoked by the lawsuit. "At the mo- ment, it is not considering any revi- sions to the rules." The allegations made by AB, whose teenage daughter, BC, is also a plaintiff, run out like a red-hot drama script in the statement of claim filed by her lawyer, Matthew Wilton, in Ontario Superior Court last Novem- ber. The bare details first surfaced last February, when the law society posted the tribunal's ruling against Hunter. He was found to have "engaged in professional miscon- duct" when he began a "sexual/ro- mantic" relationship with AB, which the tribunal said lasted for 2½ years, after she retained him in November 2000 to settle a dispute over the su- pervised access her former husband had to their daughter. The affair with Hunter began in April 2003, according to A.B.'s statement of claim, after he assured her he and his wife were not having sexual relations, he was not having an affair with anyone else, and he was interested in a serious, monoga- mous relationship with AB. Wilton notes that some of the allegations in the claim have already been confirmed during the law soci- ety disciplinary process. The tribunal decision included the finding that A.B. was "emotionally vulnerable" when Hunter made his advances, and that he failed to advise her to retain a different lawyer or obtain independent legal advice. The decision also confirmed that on the same evening, much later, when Hunter admitted to AB that he had been having sexual relations Judge fights for his job Matlow admits he erred in hearing case A Superior Court judge facing potential ouster over allegations he was biased while hearing a case involving the City of Toronto says that, while in hindsight he regrets his actions, he did what he thought was best at the time. Justice Ted Matlow also told a Canadian Judicial Council Inquiry last week he be- lieves judges have only themselves to rely on as a moral compass. The rare hearing arose after City of To- ronto solicitor Anna Kinastowski filed a com- plaint in 2006, after Matlow sat, in 2005, on a three-judge panel that unanimously ruled against a city proposal for a streetcar right- of-way on St. Clair Avenue. The allegations of bias stem from the veteran judge's involve- ment at the time in a community organiza- tion called Friends of the Village, a group that opposed a development, known as the Thelma project, that was planned for an area near Matlow's home and first proposed by the City of Toronto and a developer in 1999. "I didn't do anything that was designed to achieve an improper purpose," Matlow told the hearing. Matlow said he read several documents dealing with judges' ethical responsibilities prior to hearing the case involving the city's St. Clair streetcar proposal, known as the SOS case. In cross-examination from the inquiry's independent counsel Douglas Hunt, Matlow said he "likely looked at" a book, published in 1998 by the CJC, that outlined ethical prin- cipals, but that he didn't necessarily read it from "cover to cover." Hunt noted the book was published around the time a new advi- sory body was created for judges to query regarding ethical concerns. Matlow said he didn't feel it was necessary to seek advice from that body, as "every judge has to use his own discretion," or would oth- erwise be seeking advice "10 times a day." He noted that judges in Canada aren't bound by a specific code of ethics, and that he was un- aware of any requirement to seek advice. Matlow said he knew that, by sitting on the SOS case after speaking out against city actions on another development project, he was doing something most judges wouldn't. But he said he wanted to "fulfill my own con- cept of a decent human being and judge." Matlow said he made an "error in judg- ment" in sitting on the SOS case, but not an error in law. He added he's made other er- rors as a judge, and said, "That's what appeal courts are for." Matlow did not tell his fellow judges or counsel in the SOS case of his involvement with Friends of the Village. He said that in his opinion the SOS case bore no similari- ties to the Thelma project; therefore, he saw no reason to recuse himself or suggest that it may be necessary. But he added that, if asked, he likely would have stepped aside. He also believed that counsel for the city in the SOS case knew of his involvement in the Thelma project, and that if they had had any Inside This Issue Inquiry sought 3 That's History 6 Focus on Insurance Law 9 Quote of the week "I think it's a terrific oppor- tunity to meet, to be able to spread the concept of the rule of law around the world, and to be able to work out a system that hopefully reflects ultimately democratic values," — Leo Adler Osgoode law students' coach See Osgoode, Page 4 George Hunter See Suit, page 2 See I Thought, page 2 BY tim naumetz For Law Times 'I didn't do anything that was designed to achieve an improper purpose,' says Justice Ted Matlow. Robert Todd BY RoBeRt todd Law Times " LT-Jan 14 08.indd 1 1/10/08 8:06:49 PM

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