Law Times

June 23, 2014

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 15

Lawyer who bilked LAO hoping to keep licence By yAMri TAddese Law Times Grand Bend, Ont., law- yer has admitted to bill- ing Legal Aid Ontario for contested trials that didn't happen, court dates that didn't take place, and criminal charges he never defended. A Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel found William Ken- nedy guilty of professional miscon- duct on June 16 after he also admit- ted to accepting LAO certificates for clients he had previously repre- sented as duty counsel, something generally prohibited by legal aid rules. LAO filed a complaint to the law society after it conducted two investigations into 20 randomly selected certificates handled by Kennedy. All 20 files contained problems that included "double or triple billing" as well as other inac- curacies, according to law society counsel Elaine Strosberg. At a hearing last week, Strosberg said Kennedy had overbilled LAO by $25,000, an amount based on the 20 investigated files out of 107 cer- tificates he had handled. She noted LAO doesn't have the resources to look into all of the 107 cases. Kennedy billed LAO for |con- tested trials "where no trial oc- curred," seven indictment pro- ceedings where the matter had proceeded summarily, and two bail hearings he didn't conduct. In one case, legal aid paid him for a matter he worked on as a per diem Crown attorney as opposed to defence counsel, said Strosberg. Kennedy, who attended the hearing via teleconference, admit- ted to the allegations contained in an agreed statement of facts. LAO has recovered about $13,000 of its losses by clawing back funds owed to Kennedy. "While the lawyer has not paid the $11, 876.52 balance that LAO has deemed owing, LAO hasn't tak- en any further steps to recover this money from the lawyer because it concluded the lawyer did not have the funds to repay this amount," the agreed statement of facts noted. The document also noted Ken- nedy had misunderstood the scope of an exemption that allows lawyers in Huron County to accept legal aid certificates for clients they also rep- resented as duty counsel. The exemption for Huron County exists because of the lack of lawyers in that region, but ac- cording to the agreed statement of facts, Kennedy used that provision to represent clients outside of the region as well. The agreed statement of facts also noted Kennedy was unclear about LAO's tariffs for legal aid work. "Since it began its online bill- ing protocol, LAO has provided a lawyer and payment assistance service to assist lawyers with ques- tions about how to bill for services rendered, but the lawyer has never Visit or call 1.800.387.5164 for a 30-day no-risk evaluation )BSECPVOEȕ1VCMJTIFE'FCSVBSZFBDIZFBS 0OTVCTDSJQUJPOȕ- 0OFUJNFQVSDIBTFȕ- .VMUJQMFDPQZEJTDPVOUTBWBJMBCMF 1SJDFTTVCKFDUUPDIBOHFXJUIPVUOPUJDF]UPBQQMJDBCMFUBYFTBOETIJQQJOHIBOEMJOH CANADIAN LAW LIST 2014 :063*/45"/5$0//&$5*0/50$"/"%"Ȏ4-&("-/&5803, ȕ BOVQUPEBUFBMQIBCFUJDBMMJTUJOH ȕ DPOUBDUJOGPSNBUJPO ȕ MFHBMBOEHPWFSONFOUDPOUBDUJOGPSNBUJPO .03&5)"/"1)0/�, CLL-Dir_LT_Feb10_14.indd 1 14-01-31 12:11 PM Where have all the lawyers gone? Recent election continues profession's decline at Queen's Park By yAMri TAddese Law Times ecent trends suggest the law and politics no lon- ger go hand in glove in Ontario as fewer lawyers are pursuing provincial politics and entering elected office. When only 12 lawyers won seats at Queen's Park in 2011, the Ontario Bar Association called it an apparent low in recent history and noted the dearth of legal expertise among the province's lawmakers. After the recent provincial election, there will now be just seven lawyers in the legislature and none of the newly elected MPPs hold law degrees. What's more, the OBA says, this is the first time in the post-Second World War era that at least one lawyer isn't among the major party leaders in Ontario. "Occupational diversity in the legislature is a good thing," says OBA spokesman Greg Crone. "For example, teachers, farmers, and doctors all bring a valuable and unique outlook. But what is lost with fewer lawyers in the legislature is the legal perspective. Non-law- yers might not immediately understand the full impact of court decisions. Non-lawyers might not immediately fore- see the multiple consequences a single legislative change might bring." After a dozen lawyers won in the 2011 provincial election, a few resignations brought the number of them to eight just before the recent campaign began in May. In this election, a non-lawyer Liberal replaced John Ger- retsen, a former attorney general of Ontario, as MPP for Kingston and the Islands. That left the house with Liberal lawyers Lorenzo NEW CHIEF NAMED Access to justice among Strathy's priorities P3 STATUS HEARINGS Judicial intervention taken too far P7 FOCUS ON Municipal & Planning Law P9 Business pressures and society's growing apathy may be among the reasons fewer lawyers are running for office, says Todd McCarthy. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Disbarments, page 5 See Fewer, page 5 PM #40762529 NEW CHIEF NAMED Access to justice among Strathy's priorities & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM $4.00 • Vol. 25, No. 22 June 23, 2014 Follow LAW TIMES on L aw TIMes L aw TIMes R A

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Times - June 23, 2014