Law Times

June 27, 2011

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Follow on $4.00 • Vol. 22, No. 22 Untitled-3 1 5/5/10 3:55:30 PM Inside This Issue 5 Critical View 6 Child Protection 8 Focus On Municipal & Planning Law Quote of the week "The harmonized bylaw ended up collapsing under its own weight. Everybody had some objection in one form or another." — Barnet Kussner, WeirFoulds LLP, See Toronto, page 9 Covering Ontario's Legal Scene ntitled-3 1 Billions of dollars invested, not a penny lost. June 27, 2011 5/4/10 2:49:21 PM Unauthorized practice on the rise But LSUC says it's working to control a growing issue BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times T he Law Society of Upper Canada says it's taking action in response to a dramatic increase in the number of complaints about the unauthor- ized practice of law. Th e law society, which is responsible for preventing the unauthorized prac- tice of law in Ontario, says the number of new complaints tripled between 2007, when there were 143 of them, and 2009, when it ballooned to 445. Th e total fell to 330 last year, largely thanks to the decision to hive off complaints about paralegals who go beyond their allowed scope of practice. When that tally is included, the number of complaints for 2010 was 398. Law society CEO Malcolm Heins puts the increase down to the 2006 changes to the Law Society Act. Th e amendments "expanded the law society's mandate to regulate paralegals, reduced the number of legal services which could be provided without a licence, and increased the law society's ability to prosecute unauthorized practice," Heins says. When the law society began regulating paralegals in 2007, the new rules permitted them to appear before certain courts and tribunals, and some of the evidence suggests the spike in complaints could be due in part to licensees getting protective over their new territory and turning in those without the proper credentials. "Anecdotal evidence from our investigators indicates that recent complaints involving unlicensed individuals, in particular those practising in Small Claims Court, provincial off ences court, and administrative tribunals, have originated mainly with licensees, both lawyers and paralegals," Heins says, noting that complaints also come from the public, the judiciary, and tribunals. A recent report on the issue submitted to Convocation showed that the number of complaints in the fi rst quarter of 2011 was down to 61. Th e num- ber was 74 after including complaints about paralegals, a decrease over the last quarter and the equivalent period in 2010. "We have made signifi cant progress in addressing [unauthorized practice] and in my view, the issue . . . is under control," wrote report author Zeynep Onen, the law society's director of professional regulation. Onen noted that a number of complaints involve paralegals continuing to See Multicultural, page 4 'We have noted that certain individuals are targeting particular communities and exploiting those communities' lack of familiarity with the law society's regulatory role,' says Malcolm Heins. Plaintiffs' firms jumping on Muddy Waters report A BY JULIUS MELNITZER For Law Times signifi cant carriage fi ght is shaping up among plaintiff s' fi rms in the various class action proceedings initiated against beleaguered Sino-Forest Corp., a TSX-listed issuer and a major commercial forestry operator in China. From the bar's perspective, however, the preliminary jockey- ing among plaintiff s' fi rms raises some interesting questions about the conduct of class proceedings in Ontario. At least one veteran litigator 'We don't simply rely on what anyone says and certainly not a short seller,' says Dimitri Lascaris. who acts for plaintiff s isn't im- pressed. "I think the hasty fi lings were completely irresponsible," said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "If we're going to have mature, credible class actions against Sino-Forest, we need responsible behaviour on all sides, and that includes the analysts and the class action bar. Filing on the basis of a report riddled with misinformation doesn't meet that standard." On June 8, just six days after Muddy Waters Research analyst Carson Block accused Sino-For- est of fraud and after the com- pany's stock dropped by more than 70 per cent, Joel Rochon of Toronto's Rochon Genova LLP fi led a proposed class action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Th e lawsuit, which also names several of Canada's major under- writers, relies almost exclusively on the allegations by Muddy Wa- ters, a research company that's certainly not mainstream and even lacks a physical address. At the same time, it has also emerged that Muddy Waters is a short-seller of Sino-Forest stock. In any event, Siskinds LLP of London, Ont., followed with a lawsuit in the Quebec Superior Court on June 9. For the most part, the Siskinds case also relies on the Muddy Waters allega- tions. As it turns out, Quebec is a fi rst-to-fi le jurisdiction. Th at means that the plaintiff s' fi rm that fi les fi rst in that province is the one likely to get carriage and the biggest slice of the fee pie from proceedings against Sino- Forest. On June 15, Dimitri Lascaris of Siskinds confi rmed to Law See Lawyer, page 4 ADR Connect: LT Digital version.indd 1 Find an ADR Professional 416-487-4447 • Mediators Untitled-2 1 Gold Standard Arbitrators 5/20/11 1:11:30 PM 6/25/10 12:59:47 PM Click here to subscribe today to LAW TIMES

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