Law Times

April 21, 2008

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Law Times Earlug Ad 1/16/08 4:06 416-598-5899 1-800-410-1013 McKELLAR STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS INC. 1-800-265-8381 $3.55 • Vol. 19, No. 13 ckellar_LT_Jan14_08.indd 1 1/8/08 3:03:02 PM Inside This Issue 2 Protecting Consumers 7 Notorious Case 9 Focus On ADR/Mediation Quote of the week "Justice Pugsley, I think, rightly took on the system, and it was about time that a judge did. Pugsley's an excellent candidate to be raising these things because he's articulate and he's thoughtful." — Ross Milliken defence lawyer see Judge, page 5 he Ministry of the Attorney General has failed to provide adequate court interpreters — despite a lambast- ing of the quality of those services by a Su- perior Court justice three years ago, alleges a $35-million class action lawsuit launched in Brampton last week. "It goes to a Charter right that every person has to be entitled to understand the criminal proceedings which are brought against them," says lawyer Mike Girard, who brought the suit with colleague An- thony Moustacalis. "The responsibility for discharging that Charter obligation is given to the provinces, and they have not, in some cases, provided competent translators. The lawsuit arises out of a case involving representative plaintiff Avtar Sidhu, who won a stay of proceedings in 2005 when Superior Court Justice Casey Hill ruled that the Punja- bi-speaking man's s. 7 and s. 14 Charter rights had been breached. In that ruling, Hill criticized the Court Ser- vices Division for its "reckless indifference" to Sidhu's right to a court interpreter, and added, "It is statistically inevitable that there exist as yet undiscovered miscarriages of justice." The lawsuit alleges that the province used Court interpreters inadequate? T Ministry slapped with $35-million class action BY ROBERT TODD Law Times Girard says, "It doesn't appear that anyone is taking any steps to try and identify who those people might be, and whether in fact there was a miscarriage of justice." Ministry of the Attorney General spokes- proceed to litigation, and therefore we won't be making any further comment on the litigation aspect," says Crawley. But he tells Law Times that the ministry man Brendan Crawley confirmed that the ministry has been served with a notice of ac- tion and amended statement of claim under the Class Proceedings Act. "It's anticipated that this matter will "continues to ensure that we have the highest standards of interpretation in Canada," and that complaints about interpreters "are handled promptly and effectively." He adds, "Our quality-assurance model Covering Ontario's Legal Scene TitlePLUS title insurance and you, together we make real estate real simple. April 21, 2008 unaccredited interpreters without telling the court; that interpreters aren't sufficiently trained, tested, or monitored; and that the province failed to deal with the problems, even though it was aware of them. "What we have is some known, and potential- ly a much larger group that are unknown, people 'It goes to a Charter right that every person has to be entitled to understand the criminal proceedings which are brought against them,' says Mike Girard. who have been subjected to criminal proceedings where the interpretation may be an issue. And that brings up the spectre of potential wrongful conviction," says the suit. unaccredited interpreters and note it in the court file, he says. Salary standoff threatens 'judicial independence' BY TIM NAUMETZ For Law Times OTTAWA — An unprecedented confrontation is brewing between the judiciary and the Harper govern- ment over the chasm between their respective proposals for hikes in the salaries of federal judges. Hints of the conflict are contained in submissions to the federal Judicial Compensation and Benefits Com- mission, with the judiciary accusing the Conservatives of reducing the last pay hike for "political reasons" and the government suggesting the judicial demands are exorbitant. The judicial submission discloses that the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association and the Canadi- an Judicial Council fired off a private legal letter to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson in 2007 that the govern- ment's last salary increase for judges in 2006 was "constitutionally and statutorily invalid." The Canadian Bar Association has also stepped into the fray, argu- ing in its submission to the commis- sion that the parliamentary process of passing legislation to authorize the pay hikes every four years "in- creases rather than decreases the likelihood of politicizing judicial compensation issues." The judiciary's submission to the compensation and benefits commis- sion — which must present its rec- ommendation on salary increases to the government by the end of next month — calls for catch-up pay hikes to take a puisne judge's sal- ary from the current $252,000 to $307,170 by 2011, including statu- tory inflation adjustments. The government — arguing money is tight and that it has other spending priorities from its political platform — is proposing a judge's salary of $287,127 by 2011, also in- cluding statutory indexation. The Canadian Bar Association — which says it is not taking monetary sides in the dispute and is arguing on the principles — wrote that judicial independence is at risk and urged the commission to make that point in its May report to Nicholson. "Any links between judicial deci- sions, either specifically or generally, and compensation issues will have the effect of eroding judicial inde- pendence and should not be coun- tenanced," sayss the bar association's submissions to the commission, whose membership includes former Privy Council clerk Paul Tellier. "We believe the commission in "situations of extreme urgency," says Craw- ley. They may be used when an accredited in- terpreter is unavailable, or if there's a need for a rare language or dialect, he says. "Being unaccredited does not automatically mean the person is not a credible interpreter; it simply means they are not on the ministry's registry," says Crawley. "Many unaccredited in- terpreters perform interpreter functions outside of the Ministry of the Attorney General." Court managers must approve the use of allows us to identify, retest, and remove inter- preters who do not meet industry standards or breach the Rules of Professional Conduct for court interpreters." The ministry uses unaccredited interpreters See System, page 4 See Vast, page 4 'The whole notion of judicial independence is critical,' says Guy Joubert. Taking the FIRST step doesn't have to be this risky Commercial Title Insurance Untitled-10 1 Take the risk-free FIRST step and call us for coverage information or for unique ideas on how you can structure the next commercial deal that comes your way. We won't leave you hanging. CALL FIRST 1.866.804.3112 Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd., with the exception of commercial policies by First American Title Insurance Company. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products offered are subject to change without notice. TM Trademark of The First American Corporation. 3/11/08 4:28:00 PM

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