Law Times

June 2, 2008

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Law Times Earlug Ad 1/16/08 4:06 P titleplus.ca 416-598-5899 1-800-410-1013 McKELLAR STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS INC. www.mckellar.com 1-800-265-8381 www.mckellar.com ckellar_LT_Jan14_08.indd 1 $3.55 • Vol. 19, No. 18 1/8/08 3:03:02 PM Covering Ontario's Legal Scene Final decision rests with Parliament Matlow benched BY ROBERT TODD Law Times A Canadian Judicial Council inquiry committee has found Ontario Superior Court Jus- tice Ted Matlow guilty of miscon- duct, and that there are grounds for his removal from judicial office. "The inquiry committee con- cludes that Justice Matlow's conduct is so manifestly and totally contrary to the impartiality, integrity, and in- dependence of the judiciary that the confidence of individuals appearing before the judge, or of the public in its justice system, have been under- mined, rendering the judge incapable of performing the duties of his judi- cial office," the 65-page committee report, released last week, reads. "Accordingly, the inquiry committee expresses the view that a recommenda- tion for removal of Justice Matlow from office is warranted." Matlow, speaking through his as- sistant, tells Law Times that he has no comment on the report. His lawyer, Paul Cavalluzzo of Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish LLP, says he will file a written response to the CJC regard- ing the report, and will appear be- fore the council to comment on it. Matlow, a 68-year-old judge with 27 years of experience, has 30 days to file that response. The council will make its recommenda- tion to Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson on role in contemporary society. "In this case, we had a judge who acted along with his neighbours, and at the end of the day it would seem to me that the neighbours and the public would have more respect for a judge for the kind of paricipa- tion that Judge Matlow engaged in, rather than the opposite," he says. Cavalluzzo says the punishment Matlow faces is "totally not propor- tionate with the conduct alleged, even if there is room for criticism." Norman Sabourin, executive di- rector and senior general counsel for the CJC, tells Law Times that there have been eight inquiry committees since the council was created in 1971. The council is currently dealing with two ongoing cases: the Matlow case and a matter involving Ontario Supe- rior Court Justice Paul Cosgrove. The council's history suggests this Photo: Robert Todd In a rare move, a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry committee has found Superior Court Justice Ted Matlow guilty of misconduct. whether Matlow should be removed from of- fice after hearing the judge's response. A federal judge can only be removed from office through a joint resolution of Parliament. Cavalluzzo says the inquiry committee in its report applied an "antiquated view" of a judge's isn't the end of the line for Matlow. In 2003, the council disagreed with an inquiry committee's finding that Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean- Guy Boilard had acted improperly. However, in that case the committee had not recommended the judge's ouster. Both the Boilard and Matlow matters involve questions of judges' recusing themselves from cases. Sabourin says the CJC has only once recom- mended to the minister of justice that a judge be removed — a 1996 case involving Superior Court of Quebec Justice Jean Bienvenue, who See Matlow, page 4 Former Harper lawyer suspended for two months BY TIM NAUMETZ For Law Times OTTAWA — A prominent Otta- wa lawyer with close ties to Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he was dragged through a Law So- ciety of Upper Canada hearing and found guilty of professional misconduct simply because he the City of Ottawa, were so above- board that the discipline hearing panel had a difficult time agreeing he had done anything wrong. "My clients were the strongest supporter," he tells Law Times. Montenegrino added that had he not once represented Harper in a civil suit and maintained close ties to the prime minister, his own I did not want the media there every day, misreporting things, because the media tend to do that. wanted to help the morale of his cancer-stricken secretary. Manny Montenegrino, suspend- ed from practising for two months for billing work he did not perform, says he admitted to his mistakes. But he tells Law Times his motives in the dealings with his client in the case, TPLawTimes1CBlue fin 8/22/06 11:46 AM Page 1 case would have attracted no media coverage or other attention. The allegations against Montene- grino came from Daniel Leduc, now with Ogilvy Renault LLP in Ottawa, who was a partner with Lang Mi- chener LLP in the capital while Mon- tenegrino was managing partner. Montenegrino initially sug- gested to Law Times that his rela- tions with Leduc while Montene- grino was managing partner were behind Leduc's decision to go to the law society with allegations of improper conduct. He later withdrew from that position after Leduc's lawyer, Rick Brooks, de- nied that was the case. Montenegrino explained his longtime secretary's illness was at the root of actions that led to the hearing's finding that between No- vember 2001 and December 2003 he "engaged in professional miscon- duct for engaging in improper bill- ing practices and procedures in con- nection with his client, and for sub- mitting accounts to his clients for services that he did not perform." When his own secretary was bat- tling cancer, he asked another secre- tary in the firm to perform docketing. "My secretary had cancer and I did not replace her, so I went to an- other secretary and she did it errone- ously and I didn't supervise properly, and yes, I made a mistake," he says. "My thinking was that I did not want her in her dying bed to think that I replaced her, to affect her mo- rale. So I used another secretary that I wasn't accustomed to. My other secretary would have done things probably right; I would have com- municated more. I made a mistake and dockets were entered. The agreed statement of facts said she 'guestimated' the time, and it was fine, but it wasn't purely accurate." Montenegrino noted the City of Ottawa continued to retain him af- ter the allegations. A former Reform party organiz- See Secretary, page 4 NICE BACKYARD. Protect your clients. Recommend TitlePLUS® * Underwritten by Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO® title insurance.* TitlePLUS title insurance and you, together we make real estate real simple. Visit titleplus.ca or call 1-800-410-1013 for more information ). Contact LAWPRO for brokers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. ® Law Times – Backyard (Front Page Base Bar 1C) www.lawtimesnews.com Registered trademark of Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company. TitlePLUS title insurance and you, together we make real estate real simple. June 2, 2008 Inside This Issue 3 Call to Arms 7 Doing Business 9 Focus On Criminal Law Quote of the week "You can't give up rights in a marriage contract unless you know what you're giving up. A number of trial judges have said that, and that seems to me to be a sensible principle, and that's the major lesson from LeVan." — Philip Epstein lawyer, Epstein Cole LLP See Appeal, page 3 T oo bad their neighbours have as much right to it as they do.

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