Law Times

March 28, 2011

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Follow on Subscribe to Law Times And receive: • Unlimited access to the Law Times digital editions and to our digital edition archives...FREE • Canadian Legal Newswire, a weekly e-newsletter from the editors of Law Times and Canadian Lawyer...FREE $4.00 • Vol. 22, No. 11 Untitled-3 1 5/5/10 3:55:30 PM Inside This Issue 3 Evidence Tossed Covering Ontario's Legal Scene earlug.indd 1 March 28, 2011 11/10/09 11:20:32 AM Lawyers, judges battle at LSUC Members of judiciary need to have thicker skin: accused BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times 6 A Duty To Consult 10 Focus On Energy Law/ Environmental Law Quote of the week "Settlements must be consented to by the casualty insurer because technically they purchase them for the benefi t of the injured party. They're largely in the driver's seat." — Bob Nigol, Henderson Structured Settlements LP, See Avoiding, page 15 Hamilton, Ont., lawyer facing allega- tions of incivility from six members of the family court bench stood by her conduct at a disciplinary hearing last week, arguing that judges need to have thicker skin. Sole practitioner Ann Bruce's conduct led one judge, Superior Court Justice Cheryl Lafrenière, to fi nd her in contempt of court in June 2010. Lafrenière lodged a complaint about her in May 2010 on behalf of the judg- es, who all sit in the Unifi ed Family Court in Hamilton and had encountered Bruce over the previous year. But Bruce, who is facing four counts of pro- fessional misconduct, insisted she had done nothing wrong, and claims their views weren't representative of her interactions with the judi- ciary elsewhere in the province. "Th ere is no basis to suggest I have deni- grated the court," she told the Law Society of Upper Canada panel hearing her case. "I have worked in other courthouses, and there hasn't been one instance of anything remotely similar to these extreme allegations." Instead, she said the allegations were all rooted in her dispute with Lafrenière. "Th is judge didn't have thick skin and she was hypersensitive," Bruce said. Suzanne Jarvie, counsel for the law society, said transcripts of court proceedings showed Bruce had adopted "an aggressive, interruptive, argumentative, and disrespectful tone." Two recent law society disciplinary matters dealt with lawyers fighting back against judges accusing them of incivility. "Ms. Bruce's practice is to recklessly cast as- persions on the bench and opposing counsel without factual foundation," Jarvie said. Bruce accused several judges of bias and told some of them she'd be appealing their de- cisions, according to Jarvie. "It is an extreme case, not one where [there were] isolated events in which counsel have lost control of themselves," Jarvie said. "Ms. Bruce was repeatedly getting messages, both explicit and implicit, from the bench and from other counsel. At every turn, this advice and these comments and these cues fell on deaf ears." See Case, page 9 Budget details new Crowns for Nunavut only BY TOM KORSKI For Law Times OTTAWA — New hiring of prosecutors and judges in Can- ada's most remote and crime-rid- den region signals increased fed- eral spending on the Conserva- tives' self-described public safety short-lived 40th Parliament. "We can't comment on that if it is in the budget," said one Jus- tice Department offi cial. Th e government was cited for contempt on March 11 by the House of Commons' stand- ing committee on procedure and house aff airs for failing to de- "Th e Conservatives have been asked over and over and over to account for costs," said Liberal MP and justice critic Marlene Jennings. "I don't think this entire program has been worked out." Budget papers tabled last Tues- day confi rmed the fi rst but brief details of new hiring with the The government's reluctance to put information out is an admission of how much their tough-on-crime program is going to cost. agenda, documents show. Yet government authorities refuse to say how many new lawyers and judges the govern- ment will hire nationwide fol- lowing the introduction of 18 crime-related bills in the likely tail all of the costs of enforcing new crime legislation. Measures introduced by the Conservative government have ranged from clamping down on conditional sentences to restrictions on parole for fi rst-degree murderers. appointment of at least one addi- tional judge and four new federal prosecutors at the Nunavut Court of Justice. Th e new postings will cost $4.2 million over two years. Th e territory's unifi ed court currently operates with four judges and 16 prosecutors. "Attorneys general in several provinces have been asking the federal government to do this," Jennings tells Law Times. "Th e government is desperate to say they are taking all the steps to en- sure resources are there, but this has not been true." Jennings noted additional fund- ing for the Nunavut court came the same day Quebec announced the hiring of 94 more prosecutors and 66 jurists and researchers. Justice Minister Rob Nichol- son refused to comment, as did the Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution Service. Documents tabled in Parliament show the prosecution service has See Justice, page 9 Click here to subscribe today to LAW TIMES LT Digital version.indd 1 6/25/10 12:59:47 PM Includes a FREE digital edition! Go to: Photo: Sandra Strangemore

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