Law Times

October 29, 2018

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 15

PM #40762529 $5.00 • Vol. 29, No. 34 October 29, 2018 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 Harassment and discrimination complaints skyrocket Jennifer Gold says a jump in calls to the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel for the Law Society of Ontario are a wake-up call for the profes- sion. Photo: Robin Kuniski TERRORISM BILL Lawyers decry services being stripped P5 DEFAMATION LAW Common law shifted significantly P7 FOCUS ON Class Action Law P8 BY ANITA BALAKRISHNAN Law Times T here was a 50-per-cent uptick in the first half of 2018 in the total number of new individuals who contacted the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel for the Law Society of Ontario, according to a report released by the law society's Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee. The report shows that 125 indi- viduals — or about 21 per month — reached out to the DHC for a new matter, a leap from about 14 per month in the last six months of 2017. Behaviour that is described in the report includes discrimina- tory advertising for articling posi- tions, persistent sexualized and predatory texting, verbal or physi- cal threats, clients being mocked by opposing counsel due to a dis- ability, and demanding sex in ex- change for legal services, among others. Jennifer Gold, a family lawyer and founding partner of a bou- tique firm that serves the Region of Peel, says the report is a wake-up call for the profession. "Unfortunately, it wasn't sur- prising," says Gold, who is vice president of the Women's Law As- sociation of Ontario. "I think we all know that these things are hap- pening and finally they are com- ing to light." Racial discrimination was the most common grounds of com- plaint amid legal professionals, followed by sexual harassment, sex, and disability, with most com- plainants raising more than one issue, the report said. Sexual ha- rassment was the most common complaint among members of the public, followed by disability dis- crimination complaints. Of the 125 new contacts — ex- cluding those calling about exist- ing issues — 46 were "substantive concerns about discrimination and/or harassment by licensees that fall within the mandate of the DHC program," including 11 by members of the public and 34 by members of the legal profession, the report said. Of those 46 complaints within the DHC mandate, 24 were made by lawyers, seven were made by students and three were made by paralegals. Eighty per cent of the claims made by members of the legal profession were made by women, "more than half of whom See Data, page 5 Tighter restrictions considered for former judges BY ANITA BALAKRISHNAN Law Times T he Law Society of On- tario is considering how it might implement a na- tional proposal to narrow the roles of judges in the court- room after retirement, according to a report presented to Convoca- tion this week. The report, from the LSO's Pro- fessional Regulation Committee, says the committee considered a proposal this month that "all judges who return to practice, re- gardless of the court on which they served, would be prohibited from communicating with or appearing before any court except in excep- tional circumstances with the ap- proval of the Law Society." That would be a change from the existing rules, which allow certain judges to appear before certain regulatory bodies after a three-year waiting period. Currently, the Law Society of Ontario's Rules of Professional Con- duct include "an absolute prohibi- tion against a former judge of the Su- preme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal, or the Superior Court of Justice appearing before any court, or in chambers, or before any administrative board or tribunal except in exceptional cir- cumstances and with the approval of the Hearing Division of the Law Society Tribunal." But the Rules of Professional Conduct also state that "judges of the Federal Court, the Tax Court of Canada, or the Ontario Court of Justice may not appear before the court on which they were a mem- ber, or any lower court, or before any administrative board or tribu- nal over which the court on which the judge was a member exercised an appellate or review jurisdiction, for a period of three years without the approval of the Hearing Divi- sion and only in exceptional cir- cumstances." Now, the LSO plans to consult with judges and judicial associa- tions about amendments to this See Retired, page 4 FOUNDING PARTNER COCKTAIL SPONSOR Honouring Canada's Leading Lawyers Under 40 – from law firms and in-house. Thursday, November 8 th , 2018 | The Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto KEYNOTE SPEAKER | Kathleen Taylor, Chair of the Board, RBC THE E B O L G AND MAIL MEDIA PARTNER BRONZE SPONSORS Untitled-5 1 2018-10-25 3:44 PM Follow cLeishOrlando_LT_Oct29_18.indd 1 2018-10-25 7:52 AM Malcolm Mercer says the Law Society of Ontario has not decided on next steps when it comes to how the regulator might approach a national proposal to limit the roles of judges in the courtroom after retirement.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Times - October 29, 2018