Law Times

March 7, 2011

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 15

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 Billions of dollars invested, not a penny lost. earlug.indd 1 $4.00 • Vol. 22, No. 8 11/10/09 11:20:32 AM Inside This Issue 4 Crown Uproar Covering Ontario's Legal Scene ntitled-3 1 March 7, 2011 5/4/10 2:49:21 PM LSUC launches paralegal review Process based on controversial report from 2000 BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times 7 F Dollars and Cents 9 Focus On Immigration Law Quote of the week "I've had people with criminal records go back and forth across the border, so I don't understand why someone who has not been charged with a criminal offence would not be able to do that. It's not right that the police can do that." — Mario Bellissimo, Bellissimo Law Group, See Are, page 12 amily lawyers are concerned after the Law Society of Upper Canada revealed it would use a decade-old report that backed paralegal calls to prac- tise in that area as the basis for a promised review of the scope of their practice. Treasurer Laurie Pawlitza told Convoca- tion on Feb. 24 that the activities identifi ed by former Supreme Court justice Peter Cory in his 2000 report on regulating paralegal practice in Ontario would form the starting point of a review promised at last year's an- nual general meeting. Th e report, prepared for then-attorney gen- eral Jim Flaherty, recommended that paralegals be allowed to practise in a number of realms from which they've since been barred when the law society began regulating them in 2007. Cory said paralegals should be able to act in simple, uncontested divorce proceedings and suggested Legal Aid Ontario should fund them to act in a role similar to duty counsel in family court. Cory also recommended that paralegals be able to draw up simple wills in certain cir- cumstances and that they could act for ven- dors in real estate deals when the residence was subject to no more than one mortgage. In addition, he said paralegals should be al- lowed to appear in court on appeal from a decision in a forum in which they were able to act, such as the Small Claims Court and the Ontario Court of Justice for provincial Former Supreme Court justice Peter Cory's para- legal report is 'the only public analysis that exists with respect to the issue,' says Malcolm Heins. off ences and administrative tribunals. Tom Dart, former chairman of the Ontario Bar Association's family law section, says he'd be uncomfortable with allowing paralegals to practise in family court without a mechanism for verifying their qualifi cations. "I would be very concerned about just opening it up broadly and saying you can do whatever you want because you're a paralegal. Th at would be extremely dangerous for the public because there would be a tendency that people would do things when they don't know what they're doing," Dart says, noting even uncontested divorces can involve complex issues. "Family law is unfortunately a complex area. It's not that simple. I wish it was but it isn't. Th ere are just too many issues that can crop up." Marshall Yarmus, the paralegal whose mo- tion at the annual general meeting last year sparked the commitment to a review, says Cory's report is a "good starting point." "In terms of family law, we're looking for things beyond what he suggested because paralegals used to be allowed to make appear- ances in the family court for certain matters," he says. "But at least it also addresses other issues like wills, real estate, and other areas of law where paralegals are not currently allowed to practise and [that] he recommended." Chris Surowiak, president of the Paralegal Society of Ontario, welcomes the law soci- ety's action on the scope of paralegal practice. "Th e public needs assistance within many as- pects involving family law and the public can only benefi t in using the professional services of a paralegal in this area," he says. "Expand- ing our scope of practice can be a win-win for lawyers, paralegals, and ultimately the public." But Cynthia Mancia, co-chairwoman of the See Consultations, page 2 Bonds case has Ottawa firm barraged by calls BY KENNETH JACKSON For Law Times OTTAWA — It was a case that should have died on the vine. In- stead, it ended up growing like a Brooklyn weed. No one wanted the case tossed out more than Matthew Webber, but despite his best eff orts, the public would eventually get to know the name Stacy Bonds. It's not that Webber was try- Matthew Webber fought hard to keep the Stacy Bonds case from going to trial. ing to keep the public from what would be an eventual hailstorm of criticism directed at the Ot- tawa police department related to abuse allegations in their cell- block, illegal arrests, and trumped charges. But he saw no case against his client. From the beginning, Webber THE LAW SOCIETY OF UPPER CANADA E 2011 Bencher lection knew the evidence was weak and, he believed, actually turned the table on the police. But he found a roadblock at every turn. Th e judge and Crown wanted to proceed, he tells Law Times. "It turned into a story but it turned into the story it turned into more so because it was al- lowed to proceed," he says. "I don't expose my client to a con- viction for the sake of making a point. In this case, I attended a judicial pretrial and played the tape for the judge and said this case is going nowhere." He believed it would be with- drawn within 48 hours. It wasn't. Instead, it went to trial. "After the cross-examination of the fi rst police offi cer, it's pretty apparent to everyone in the room, at least to me and the judge, that this case is going down the toilet," he says. "Th e Crown's case [was] severely, severely fl awed." Th e lawyers went into the judge's chambers where the Crown had another opportunity to with- draw the charges. Th e Crown left and later re- turned with a decision. "Th e Crown takes instructions from somebody else in the Crown's of- fi ce and comes back to the court- room only to further proceed with the trial," says Webber of Ottawa fi rm Webber Schroeder Goldstein Abergel. Th at's when Webber made an application to have the charges See Bonds, page 2 PREFERRED ADVERTISING RATES FOR CANDIDATES Special print and online opportunities from February 14th through April 29th LT Digital version.indd 1 SAVE MORE THAN 50% OFF REGULAR RATES FOR ALL PRINT AND WEB BOOKINGS For more info, contact: Karen Lorimer, Director 905-713-4339 Canadian Lawyer/Law Times Media, a Thomson Reuters business • 240 Edward Street, Aurora, ON L4G 3S9 6/25/10 12:59:47 PM Click here to subscribe today to LAW TIMES Includes a FREE digital edition! Go to: LAW TIMES Photo: A.D. Wilson

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Times - March 7, 2011