Law Times

September 20, 2010

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

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STORE & SHRED Exceptional Quality at Reasonable Prices! COPY, SCAN, Call us today to fi nd out how much you can Save. TF: 1.888.781.9083 www.docudavit.com ocdavit_LT_June7_10.indd 1 $3.55 • Vol. 21, No. 29 6/4/10 9:22:44 AM Inside This Issue 4 Colombian Expansion 7 Early Campaigning 9 Focus On Intellectual Property/ Trademark Law Quote of the week "Complex problems are not solved by simple solutions. For sure, there are issues of social matters, of crime, these are issues that we need to address, but the simple solution that suddenly we're going to be tough on it to make it go away doesn't work." Covering Ontario's Legal Scene Billions of dollars invested, not a penny lost. ntitled-3 1 September 20, 2010 Winkler calls for 'fresh' approach with expanded mandatory mediation O BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times ntario Chief Justice Warren Winkler wants to see a complete over- haul of the province's family law system rather than more tinker- ing around the edges of a fl awed process. "Th e time has come for a fresh conceptual approach to resolu- tion of family disputes in Ontar- io," Winkler said last week while speaking at the annual Opening of the Courts ceremony. He told the audience, a who's who of the Ontario legal scene that included judges of all three courts in Ontario and attorneys general of both the federal and provincial governments, that the old system needs a complete rethink. "I question the eff ectiveness of — Norm Boxall, Ottawa defence lawyer, See New, page 5 the slow and steady approach of fi ne-tuning and rationalizing the present system," he said. "Rather than incremental change, perhaps it is time to consider a more dra- matic and pragmatic revision of the manner in which family law servic- es are delivered across Ontario." At the heart of the family law system envisioned by Winkler would be an alternative dispute resolution scheme that would 5/4/10 2:49:21 PM Judges of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice watch proceedings from the unfamiliar view of the pub- lic gallery during the Opening of the Courts ceremony at the University Avenue courthouse in Toronto last week. double as a gatekeeper to the courts. "Only in the event that the alternative dispute resolution process is unsuccessful would access to the costly, time-consuming, adversarial, and sometimes acrimonious court process be made available to litigants," he said. By making the mediation process mandatory, See More, page 3 Nation band pay its law fi rm almost $7 million has raised the ire of a prominent commu- nity member who believes the amount is excessive. Lac Seul First Nation won Lawyer's contingency fee sparks controversy A BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times contingency-fee agree- ment that will see a northern Ontario First father was chief of the Lac Seul nation in the 1970s, told band lawyer Will Major that he was a "rich man on the backs of poor Indians." But Douglas Keshen, Major's a $27-million settlement from the federal government for a century-old dispute over timber harvesting rights, but under an agreement reached eight years ago, Kenora, Ont., fi rm Keshen & Major will take a 25-per-cent cut totalling $6.75 million. At a recent public meeting to discuss the government's of- fer, Garnet Angeconeb, whose partner at the fi rm, is defend- ing the fee and notes the band was never asked to pay anything towards the case during the last eight years. His fi rm absorbed all fees and disbursements, including expert reports and legal opinions. "Absolutely, the agreement was fair," he tells Law Times. "When it went to trial last year, it was very intense and very complex and it was contested by Canada all the way. I know the band was very pleased with the result." But Angeconeb is vow- ing to continue the fi ght de- spite the band's overwhelming ratifi cation of the settlement on Sept. 9. With 735 members of the band's 3,000-strong popula- tion voting, the settlement sailed through with 96-per-cent backing. More than 2,100 members, on and off reserve, were eligible to vote. According to Angeconeb, many band members remain concerned about the size of the legal fees but were unwilling to risk the off er on the table, which the government had given them until October to accept, for the sake of the issue. "It's not thousands we're talking about here; it's millions of dollars," he tells Law Times. "Th ere's many concerned that 25 per cent is too high and that the money would be better used going towards addressing some of the deep-rooted social Get more online Canadian Lawyer | Law Times | 4Students | InHouse lawtimesnews.com • canadianlawyermag.com www.lawtimesnews.com Visit Us Online 1/8-5X.indd 1 5/25/10 11:11:26 AM Fresh Canadian legal news and analysis every week concerns of the community." Angeconeb notes he has al- ways supported the settlement, which he believes will be good for the First Nation in the long term. Nevertheless, he feels rati- fi cation doesn't close the door to a challenge. "I feel that 25 per cent is way out of range and it needs to be reviewed to look at what is fair for the First Nation," he says, adding he has already looked into the band's options. "Th e band should seek independent legal counsel to take a look at the contingency fee and possibly fi le documents to have the Superior Court review the arrangement." Angeconeb will meet later this month with the chief and council to ask them to pass a resolution See Band, page 3 Click here to subscribe today to LAW TIMES Photo: Michael McKiernan

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