Law Times

August 7, 2017

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LSUC looks to tackle complaint delays BY ALEX ROBINSON Law Times D espite attempts to speed up the length of time it takes for com- plaints to make their way through its system, the Law Society of Upper Canada saw the median age of complaints rise con- siderably in 2016. Statistics provided by the law society show that the median age of active caseloads in its investigations department in 2016 was 380 days, which was up from 268 days the year before. Its target was 240 days. When the law society receives a complaint, it gets triaged into either the investigations depart- ment or the complaints resolution department, depending on the ser- iousness of the allegations. Last year, the median age of a complaint in the resolution de- partment also increased to 308 days from 199 days the year before. Lawyers say prolonged investi- gations can be anxiety ridden for accused practitioners. Of the 2,139 complaints trans- ferred for investigation last year, 168 made it to a hearing, interlocu- tory suspension or notice of appli- cation. "The problem for the licensee with long, open investigation files is that the licensee is burdened by protracted anxiety and uncertain- ty," says Richard Watson, a lawyer who represents practitioners in law society discipline proceedings. The LSUC says it has imple- mented a restructuring process that it hopes will make the process more efficient and effective. This included changing the intake de- partment so that, in addition to re- ceiving complaints, it resolves and closes some files early on rather than transferring them for inves- tigation. DISMISSAL FOR LYING Dishonesty may create basis for termination P7 FOCUS ON Corporate/Commercial Law P8 See Age, page 2 PM #40762529 $5.00 • Vol. 28, No. 25 August 7, 2017 L AW TIMES C O V E R I N G O N T A R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W . L A W T I M E S N E W S . C O M TWU APPEAL Supreme Court pressed to release reasons P5 BY ALEX ROBINSON Law Times T he Ontario Court of Ap- peal has reversed a lower court decision to throw out a self-represented litigant's claim as vexatious in a ruling lawyers say shows the prov- ince's top court's willingness to push back against broadening the rules around vexatious litigation. In Khan v. Krylov, a self-represented litigant brought a claim against both the law firm that represented him in a person- al injury lawsuit — Krylov Lam & Company LLP — and the firm that represented the defendant in the action — Devry Smith Frank LLP. The plaintiff alleged that the two firms had misappropriated funds from a settlement that was reached and that he only got $58,137 after being told the settle- ment was $82,500. He claimed that the actual amount was clos- er to $800,000 and that the firms pocketed the rest. The lower court granted a re- quest brought by the firms under rule 2.1 of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure asking that the claim be dismissed on the basis that it was vexatious. The Ontario Superior Court introduced the rule in 2014 in order to make it eas- ier to dismiss vexatious litigation. While the law around rule 2.1 is new and evolving, the Court of Appeal found in its decision that it should only be used in the "clearest of cases." "Rule 2.1 is an extremely blunt instrument," the decision said on behalf of a three-judge panel made up of Justices Sarah Pepall, Peter Lauwers and Grant Huscroft. "It is reserved for the clearest of cases, where the hallmarks of frivolous, vexatious or abusive liti- gation are plainly evident on the face of the pleading." Michael Myers, partner with Papazian Heisey Myers, who was not involved in the case, says the decision shows the Court of Ap- peal is not going to let lawyers use rule 2.1 as a shortcut for a motion for summary judgment or a plead- ings motion in claims that are not clearly frivolous. "The facts might be pretty ludi- crous, [but] objectively, if he can prove that there was an $800,000 award from an insurance com- pany and the lawyer stole it, it's a See Rules, page 2 Michael Myers says that vexatious claims cannot simply be long-shot cases. Photo: Robin Kuniski Court pushes back around vexatious litigaton Daniel Naymark says the law society needs to be mindful of the tension between public image and fairness to lawyers it investigates and charges. 2017 TECHNOLOGY LAW ON-DEMAND COURSES NOW AVAILABLE Benefit from a deep analysis of recent developments delivered by leading practitioners in the area. Ten courses are available across all areas of technology law. Powered by REGISTER TODAY | $149 + HST per course VISIT WWW.IT-CONFERENCE.CA Untitled-4 1 2017-07-27 2:40 PM & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM www.twitter.com/lawtimes Follow

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