Law Times

June 8, 2015

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Lawyer calls for Teranet changes to prevent fraud BY TALI FOLKINS Law Times n Ontario lawyer is call- ing on the province to do more to prevent real estate fraud by changing the regulations governing the electronic land registry system to restrict ac- cess to non-lawyers. In a recent letter addressed to Teranet and the Law Society of Upper Canada among other par- ties, Shayle Rothman of Real Es- tate Lawyers.ca LLP referred to in- quiries he made in 2013 to Teranet about the "obvious and reasonably foreseeable fraud potential" of its practice of allowing non-lawyers to register and discharge mort- gages. Since then, Rothman wrote, "no relevant changes to your sys- tem have been made." Under the current system, Roth- man says, lawyers can appoint del- egates — normally law clerks or administrative staff — to register or discharge mortgages for them. "When you come to your law- yer, you automatically, I'd pre- sume, would assume that your lawyer is the only one who can register your mortgage and dis- charge your mortgage and register you as the owner of the property, and not [that] some receptionist who had access would be able to discharge your mortgage. You're saying that just makes common sense. So here, that's not the case." Though he concedes the num- bers are hard to come by as victims of fraud aren't likely to want to publicize it, Rothman suspects the amount of fraud that's occurring because non-lawyers are able to register and discharge mortgages is huge. "I'm sure if either of us knew the real number, our jaws would drop," he says. "We're talking huge sums of money. . . . It's a huge risk." In one recent Superior Court case, a Brampton, Ont., couple, Dhanraj and Sumatie Lowtan, got approval for a loan of $280,801.95. A little less than a year later, a num- bered company discharged the loan without the knowledge of the lender, Computershare Trust Co. of Cana- da. Having been discharged from this loan, the Brampton couple It's time to rank… 2015-16 CANADIAN LAWYER'S TOP 10 ONTARIO REGIONAL FIRMS SURVEY Complete the survey online at canadianlawyermag.com/surveys and rank your top 10 picks. SURVEY IS OPEN UNTIL JUNE 29TH Untitled-2 1 2015-05-27 12:21 PM Time for contingency fees in family law? Some lawyers skeptical as group seeks to end ban BY TALI FOLKINS Law Times nding Ontario's ban on contingency fees in family law cases is probably not the best way to help peo- ple who are unable to afford counsel, some Ontario family lawyers say. "If it comes down to a conversation of access to justice, it's something that's great to be thinking about, but I don't think contingency fees are going to be the right way of going about it," says Katherine Robinson, an associate at the Shulman Law Firm PC and a member of the Ontario Bar Association's family law section. The comments follow a letter recently sent to the provin- cial government by a group of 11 Greater Toronto Area law- yers who are calling on Queen's Park to legalize contingency fees in family law matters. A current regulation banning the practice is "severely misguided" and out of date, the lawyers argued. Ontario, the only province in Canada with such a ban, "desperately needs to catch up with the rest of the coun- try," they suggested. According to Stephen Durbin, the lawyer who wrote the letter for the group, the current ban works in favour of men who still tend to wield more financial power than women. As a result, they're able to legally outgun their estranged wives who often are stay-at-home mothers and unable to af- ford a lawyer to represent them in court. "The billable hour method contributes to a two-tier family justice system here, and also exacerbates the femi- nization of poverty. Those fortunate enough to afford to hire lawyers, do. Those less fortunate cannot. Despite im- provements made to our legislation over the past decades, POLICE CRITICIZED Stay granted over treatment of non-citizen P5 SEXY DRESS CODES Ontario needs case law on human rights issue P7 FOCUS ON Mobile Technology P8 'It's not going to fix the problems that already exist within access to justice and that whole issue,' says Katherine Robinson. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Teranet page 2 See Quantifying, page 2 'Lawyers have much to lose; non-lawyers not nearly as much,' says Shayle Rothman. PM #40762529 TORONTO | BARRIE | HAMILTON | KITCHENER 1-866-685-3311 | mcleishorlando.com cLeish Orlando_LT_Jan_20_14.indd 1 14-01-15 3:15 PM $5.00 • Vol. 26, No. 19 June 8, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on www.twitter.com/lawtimes L AW TIMES E A

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