Law Times

December 7, 2015

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Law school accreditation cases wend way through courts BY NEIL ETIENNE Law Times he Nova Scotia Barristers' Society (NSBS) has filed with the province's court of appeal to challenge the Nova Scotia Supreme Court's find- ing that the society's decision to deny accreditation to the proposed Trinity Western Law School was an infringement of the freedom of reli- gion of any potential student. The Nova Scotia court's finding was essentially the opposite of the ruling that the Ontario Divisional Court made in July of this year, when it dismissed an application by Trinity for a judicial review of the Law Society of Upper Canada's April 2014 convocation decision to also deny accreditation. NSBS co-counsel in the matter and partner in Halifax's McInnes Cooper, Marjorie Hickey, says for its part, the society is hoping its appeal court will come to the same conclu- sions as Ontario's divisional court. "The court in Ontario found both the law society in Ontario did have jurisdiction to make a decision respecting the accreditation of a de- gree from Trinity Western and that the society appropriately balanced the Charter issues at play when it was making its decision not to ac- credit," Hickey says. "We believe the Ontario decision is the correct deci- sion." Hickey says the crux of its appeal is to establish "what is the scope of the society's authority to regulate in the public interest in matters that really involve the question of the opportunity to enter the legal profession and to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice in a broad sense." "We believe that the Nova Scotia Supreme Court narrowly interpret- ed the society's jurisdiction, so that it was restricted to only ensuring the competence of its members and the lower court did not consider the so- ciety's much broader mandate to act in the public interest and improve the administration of justice," she adds. "We're looking for the court of appeal to make a fresh determina- tion of the Charter implications of the society's actions." She says the hope is the court in Nova Scotia, much like that in Ontario, will determine that the society's decision to not accredit A DAILY BLOG OF CANADIAN LEGAL NEWS FEEDS LEGAL POWERED BY CANADIANLAWYERMAG.COM/LEGALFEEDS FEEDS LEGAL POWERED BY LegalFeeds_LT_Dec1_14.indd 1 2014-11-26 9:44 AM 1,000 lawyers step up with offers to help Legal community poised to greet Syrian influx BY NEIL ETIENNE Law Times hile the federal immigration minister has been taking heat for not being able to outline exact f light plans to get some 10,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees to Canada by the new year, the legal community is also busy preparing for what impacts the inf lux may bring. By the end of February 2016, plans are to have about 25,000 refugees settled in Canada, with about 10,000 of those here in Ontario. Plans are that Ontario will welcome about 4,000 of the refugees by the end of 2015. Andrew Brouwer, acting senior counsel in the refugee offices of Le- gal Aid Ontario, says that while the organization is prepar- ing to assist many Syrian immigrants, the inf lux of refu- gees will have likely little impact on its organization. "We're looking at a very evolving procedural landscape in terms of the resettlement. But assuming that folks land here with permanent resident status, we don't anticipate there to be a significant impact on Legal Aid Ontario," he says. "It's not looking like there's going to be a significant need for legal aid assistance, but obviously we're here and if people arrive and it turns out they have legal issues where they're eligible for our services, like anybody else, we're here for them." Brouwer says Legal Aid will not need to provide as- sistance to the expected 10,000 resettled refugees as most coming through the process to Canada will already be ar- riving with permanent resident status, meaning they do not need the legal assistance that a typical immigration claimant would need. Nonetheless, Brouwer says there is an expectation some claimants will "arrive here on their own, rather than through the resettlement process and make a refugee claim here." In that case, Legal Aid will help. He says in-land Syr- ian claims will be expedited at the refugee board, and it's those in-land claims for which the organization may need to mobilize. "We've not seen anything to suggest it's going to be a significant change [to case load]; practically speaking, it's very difficult for a Syrian refugee, or for any refugee from that part of the world, to make it to a Canadian airport to claim refugee protection," he says. "Unless some of those overseas controls are relaxed or there's a new category of visa issued to allow claimants to get here, we're not expect- ing any significant shift." Brouwer adds that the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program that was launched in October by the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the University of Ottawa Human Rights Re- search and Education Centre, and Lifeline Syria will also help in relieving what strain Legal Aid might face. The RSSP partners pro-bono lawyers, law students, and spon- sorship experts with Canadians who are seeking to spon- sor Syrian refugees. The immigration services are offered for free, and the program has signed up about 1,000 law- yers who are ready to assist. Refugee Lawyer Association executive member and Toronto-based attorney Raoul Boulakia says many of his organization's members are volunteering to assist the sponsorship support program's efforts, but he adds that more are still needed to handle the expected case load. "Lifeline Syria has pro-bono clinics, which many law- yers have volunteered for, but there's a need for more lawyers with expertise in refugee law to be matched with DEREGULATION LSUC and U.K. take different paths P3 DUTY PROGRAM Helping inmates with criminal appeals P6 FOCUS ON E-discovery P8 'We don't anticipate there to be a significant impact on Legal Aid Ontario,' says Andrew Brouwer. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Standard, page 4 See Demand, page 4 'We believe the Ontario decision is the correct decision,' says Marjorie Hickey. 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. 39 December 7, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on www.twitter.com/lawtimes L AW TIMES W T

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