National Post credits watchdog Chris Budgell with breaking new story about Canadian Judicial Council’s own conflict of interest over Justice Newbould

One of Canada’s best known journalists credits independent CJC watchdog Chris Budgell with breaking a story about the personal conflicts of interest of a member of the Canadian Judicial Council committee investigating Ontario Superior Court Justice Frank Newbould.

Christie Blatchford wrote in the National Post “The first to notice these (conflict of interest) connections was Chris Budgell, a self-appointed citizen watchdog of the judicial council.”

Blatchford’s article Spotlight falls on panel probing conduct of judge who spoke against land claim details a CJC panel member’s conflicts:

A lawyer hand-picked by federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to serve on the committee probing the conduct of Ontario Superior Court Justice Frank Newbould hails from a Vancouver law firm with long-standing connections to the organization that complained about the judge.

On March 31, Wilson-Raybould announced that Clarine (Clo) Ostrove, a partner at Mandell Pinder, a Vancouver firm that focuses exclusively on First Nation work, is her designate on the three-person inquiry. (snip)

One of Ostrove’s associates at Mandell Pinder, Stephen Mussel, is a member of the Indigenous Bar Association.

A former Mandell Pinder associate, and former Chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, B.C., Douglas S. White, was also an Indigenous Bar Association director.

Another of the firm’s former lawyers, Angela Cousins, was a board member of the association.

Most, including Ostrove herself, have spoken on Aboriginal law issues at various conferences, including two where either Wilson-Raybould, a lawyer, former prosecutor and former regional Chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations before her election as MP for Vancouver Grenville, or her husband, Tim Raybould, were also speakers.

Budgell did the digging and sent Blatchford a well researched article that provided the foundation for her National Post story. Budgell also sent the article to DonaldBest.CA as we were prepared to publish if the National Post ignored Budgell’s work.

Christie Blatchford’s excellent article contains much more about the conflicts of interest – including that both federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and the president of the Association of Superior Court Judges, Justice Susan G. Himel, are weighing in on the situation in what some are saying appear to be attempts to influence the Canadian Judicial Council and the Inquiry Panel convened into Justice Newbould’s conduct.

National Post still censors news about CJC and Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

Lawyer Peter Wardle – Justice Shaughnessy

Blatchford’s employer though, the National Post, still refuses to cover stories about the ongoing Judicial Review of the Canadian Judicial Council’s handling of a misconduct complaint against Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy, including:

  • A Federal Court refused to dismiss Shaughnessy’s application to remove his name as a party to the judicial review.
  • The unprecedented January 17, 2017 Federal Court decision also ordered Justice Shaughnessy to personally pay the legal costs of Donald Best, a self-represented litigant that the Ontario Superior Court Justice sent to prison for contempt of court.
  • No other judge in Canadian history has been ordered to pay legal costs.
  • Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General had been acting as the judge’s personal lawyer for almost a year but parted ways with Justice Shaughnessy a week after DonaldBest.CA published an article describing how, with the AGO acting as the judge’s personal attorney, nobody was acting for the public interest at the Judicial Review.
  • Justice Shaughnessy’s new lawyer Peter C. Wardle has multiple conflicts of interest. In a closely related matter, Wardle represented two lawyers who are almost certain to be called as witnesses in a CJC investigation or public inquiry into misconduct allegations against Justice Shaughnessy.
  • Questions are also being asked about the propriety of Wardle, a Law Society of Upper Canada senior bencher, representing a Federally appointed judge accused of serious, premeditated misconduct.
  • Justice Shaughnessy’s latest choice of lawyer only ramps up questions about conflicts of interest and the optics of the apparent relationships between big law firms, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Attorney General of Canada – when nobody is representing the public interest during the judicial review.

For more details and supporting court documents, read: Justice Bryan Shaughnessy chooses Conflicted Lawyer as personal counsel in Judicial Review.

 

 

Justice Bryan Shaughnessy chooses conflicted lawyer as personal counsel in Judicial Review – #1 in a series

Law Society of Upper Canada senior bencher Peter C. Wardle is Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy’s new attorney in an ongoing judicial review of a Canadian Judicial Council decision. However, in a closely related matter Wardle also represented two lawyers who are almost certain to be called as witnesses in a CJC investigation or public inquiry into misconduct allegations against Justice Shaughnessy.

Complicating the conflicts of interest even further, lawyers Gerald Ranking (left) and Lorne Silver may not be just witnesses. Court transcripts indicate it is also possible that these lawyers assisted Justice Shaughnessy in carrying out his judicial misconduct.*

This change of counsel comes after a Federal Court refused to release Justice Shaughnessy as a party in the judicial review of a CJC decision about the judge.

The unprecedented January 17, 2017 Federal Court decision also ordered Justice Shaughnessy to personally pay the legal costs of Donald Best, a self-represented litigant that the Ontario Superior Court Justice sent to prison for contempt of court.**

No other judge in Canadian history has been ordered to pay legal costs.***

Did Conflict of Interest complaints cause Ontario’s Attorney General to resign as Justice Shaughnessy’s lawyer?

Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General (‘AGO’) no longer represents Justice Shaughnessy in the ongoing Judicial Review. The AGO had been acting as the judge’s personal lawyer for almost a year – since April 2016.

Justice Shaughnessy’s new lawyer filed a document in court indicating that Justice Shaughnessy and the AGO went their separate ways on March 1, 2017. This was a week after DonaldBest.CA published an article describing how, with the AGO acting as the judge’s personal attorney, nobody was acting for the public interest at the Judicial Review.**

Readers complained to Ontario Attorney General

Yasir Naqvi, MLA AGO

Following publication of that DonaldBest.CA article, at least half a dozen readers reported that they had written to Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi expressing disapproval that the AGO was acting as personal lawyer to a judge accused of serious misconduct, instead of acting for the people of Ontario and the public interest.

Readers questioned both the optics and actual conflicts of interest in having the AGO personally representing a judge before whom Crown Prosecutors appear daily asking for convictions, sentences, court orders and search warrants. Some readers who are also lawyers opined that Justice Shaughnessy should have hired independent counsel from the start, albeit paid for by the public purse.

Justice Shaughnessy’s latest choice of lawyer, however, only ramps up questions about conflicts of interest and the optics of the apparent relationships between big law firms, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, the Attorney General of Canada – and a Federally appointed judge accused of serious, premeditated misconduct.

Shaughnessy’s Judicial Misconduct

  • “In all my years of practicing law, this is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen a judge do.”
  • “Reprehensible misconduct by a judge that undermines the very foundations of justice.”
  • “Shaughnessy’s misconduct is worthy of his removal from the bench.”

The above comments were made by several senior lawyers, including a retired Crown Attorney, upon examining evidence proving that on May 3, 2013 in a backroom after court had finished, Justice Shaughnessy secretly increased Donald Best’s jail sentence and secretly created and substituted a new warrant of committal – off the court record, without informing the prisoner and in contravention of the sentence and order the judge himself delivered earlier in court on the record.****

Judicial Review of Canadian Judicial Council’s summary dismissal of Best’s complaint

While Donald Best was in prison, another Superior Court Justice, apparently horrified at what Justice Shaughnessy had done, released Best after his newly hired lawyer Paul Slansky filed a writ of habeas corpus. Best spent a total of 63 days in prison, with every day served in brutal solitary confinement as he is a former Toronto Police sergeant/detective.*****

Best later filed a complaint against Justice Shaughnessy with the Canadian Judicial Council. After CJC Director Norman Sabourin summarily dismissed the complaint without an investigation and without providing reasons, Best’s lawyer filed an Application for a Judicial Review of the CJC’s actions.

It is this Judicial Review that is now making its way through the Federal Court of Canada.

New Series: ‘Conflicts of Interest in Ontario’s legal profession’

This is Part 1 of our new series exploring conflicts of interest in Ontario’s legal profession. The series starts with examples noted by former Toronto Police Sergeant Donald Best during his eight-year journey through Ontario’s justice system after being convicted of contempt of court and imprisoned on provably fabricated and false evidence.

As the series progresses, we will broaden our view to examine how the legal profession’s unenforceable ‘rules’ and standards about conflicts of interest are designed to ease public and client concerns while actually providing as much latitude as possible to lawyers and law firms in their quest for profits.

Coming in the series…

Part 2: Lawyers Gerald Ranking and Lorne Silver are witnesses to Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct.

Part 3: Did Lawyers Ranking and Silver know of Justice Shaughnessy’s intentions and actions? Did they assist in his judicial misconduct?

Part 4: Should conflicted lawyer Peter C. Wardle resign from representing Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy?

Part 5: Abandoning the Public Interest. When Canada’s legal profession works to save club members, who looks after the interests of Canadians?

Part 6: Previous incident – How Justice Shaughnessy backdated a court order for lawyers Gerald Ranking and Lorne Silver.

… Additional articles in this series will be added later.

Notes and Links    Read more

Ontario’s Law Society normalizing convicted pedophiles as lawyers

A Law Society Tribunal has once again approved a convicted and jailed pedophile to practice law in Ontario. Not only that, the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) supported the pedophile’s application during the tribunal hearing, agreeing that he meets the ‘good character’ standard for licensing. (Tribunal’s decision is here 425kb pdf)

With this latest in a series of similar approvals, it is apparent that the licensing of pedophiles and other convicted criminals as lawyers is, effectively, LSUC policy. Has the law society turned down any pedophile yet? I haven’t been able to find such a case in the archives.

Lawyer had child-sex videos showing 5-year-olds

Pedophile lawyer Ronald Davidovic

This time the pedophile applicant was Canadian-born Ronald Ori Davidovic – who was a Florida lawyer in 2004 when he was arrested and convicted for possessing and viewing thousands of child-sex videos and photos where the victims were as young as five years old.

That’s right – Davidovic is excited by five-year-old children. For years while he was a Florida lawyer, he collected child sex videos showing pre-pubescent children being abused in sexual acts.

Sentenced to five years in prison, and released after three, Davidovic is permanently registered as a sex offender the United States, but now wants to practice law in Ontario.

The Law Society of Upper Canada just declared convicted pedophile Ronald Davidovic to be ‘of good character’ and gave him the approval and support he needs to be licensed – this despite a medical diagnosis that his risk of re-offending is as high as 8.4%. The phrase ‘compulsive magnetic attraction to child pornography’ appears in Davidovic’s medical record.

Pedophile lawyer John David Coon

Will the law society pay damages when a known compulsive pedophile attacks a child while serving in his capacity as a lawyer? It happened before when the law society licensed known pedophile John David Coon, who again attacked a child while performing his duties as a lawyer.

Not having learned its lesson, the Law Society continues to license other pedophile lawyers (see Martin Schultz) with little regard for the public safety or the reputation of the legal profession.

This time, Chair Raj Anand and member Jan Richardson crafted the tribunal’s decision. LSUC prosecutor Amanda Worley also supported the applicant Davidovic.

The one dissenting voice against the pro-pedophile lobby was Tribunal member and criminal defense lawyer Paul M. Cooper.

The backgrounds of the individual tribunal members make for an interesting study.     Read more

Cassels Brock law firm motto “A Law Unto Ourselves” under a bird of prey

What elitism. What arrogance. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read Cassels Brock’s motto on the law firm’s website* at ‘student.casselsbrock.com‘ : “A Law Unto Ourselves”

As a reminder, here’s what the phrase means… “One who ignores laws or rules”

Law firm logo… or motorcycle gang tattoo?

The bird of prey logo looks like a biker’s tattoo. (Law firms’ birds of prey eat clients and their bank accounts, right? The logo and motto must be quite the inside joke at Cassels Brock.)

You just can’t make stuff like this up. It’s wild that a major Canadian law firm would choose and publish on their website such an offensive motto and bird of prey biker tattoo – er, logo. But they did.

Maybe it’s an insider thing for partners, lawyers and law students. Somehow, I don’t think that clients are supposed to know about the motto, the logo and how Cassels Brock truly views the legal profession, itself, or clients.

And right at the bottom of the page: © 2017 CASSELS BROCK & BLACKWELL LLP.

(And to the Cassels Brock management committee; there was no need to copyright the tattoo. Really, I guarantee no other professional law firm is going to steal it. Then again, these are probably the kind of people who block their lawyers and employees from visiting DonaldBest.ca. See: Major Toronto Law Firms block employee visits to DonaldBest.CA)

Senior Partner Lorne S. Silver lied to the court, fabricated evidence

Perhaps their “A Law Unto Ourselves” motto explains the corporate culture at the Cassels Brock law firm – a culture where a senior partner’s misconduct is ignored even when it entails criminal offenses like perjury, fabricating evidence and obstructing justice.

For instance, Cassels Brock senior partner Lorne S. Silver (above) fabricated evidence and lied to the court orally and in writing. He even took an interest in a young articling student and taught him how to lie to the court too.

But don’t take my word for it. Read the detailed articles, listen to the secretly made voice recordings, examine the evidence and court exhibits – and make up your own mind.  Read more

Major Toronto law firms block employee visits to DonaldBest.CA – “Coordinated their web filters”

Miller Thomson started strategy of blocking employee visits to DonaldBest.CA

I hadn’t noticed but it’s true: visits to DonaldBest.CA from the static IP networks of all the big Toronto law firms stopped a few weeks ago. Apparently the senior partners and management committees don’t want their lawyers and staff reading what is on this website.

Goodness! I wonder why? (He said knowingly. For clues read Anonymous online threats against 82 year old widow originated from Miller Thomson Law Office and Miller Thomson LLP client claims lawyer Andrew Roman suggested anonymous publication of privileged documents.)

Hmmmm…. haven’t seen any visits lately from the Law Society of Upper Canada either. Let me check… Oh yes. Once someone tells you where to look, things become quite clear.

A big thank you to ‘A little birdie’ who contacted me while sitting in a Tim Hortons somewhere.

It’s nice to know that I have support from inside some of Canada’s largest law firms.

Dear Mr. Best,

Do you wonder why visits from big law firms dropped off the chart? I’ll tell you why.

The big five IT sections coordinated their web filters to block visits to donaldbest.ca. Miller Thomson started and the rest followed. signed:

A little birdie

P.S. Keep up the good work!

UPDATE: The Streisand Effect

Another reader commented on this story:

This story will spread like wildfire in the legal community. What could be so bad that law offices have to block their employees from seeing it?

Hasn’t anyone at Miller Thomson heard of the Streisand Effect?

How long is it going to take before lawyers realize that the simple act of trying to repress something they don’t like online is likely to make it so that something that most people would never, ever see (like a photo of a urinal in some random beach resort) is now seen by many more people? Let’s call it the Streisand Effect. <<<Wikipedia link
— Mike Masnick

 

 

 

 

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin staff read about misconduct by Toronto lawyer Gerald Ranking

Today we welcome (again) personnel from Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s Toronto law office who dropped by my website at 11:20:21 GMT after following a link from my @DonaldBestCA Twitter account.

It is great to have you guys and gals at Faskens following my Twitter account and reading the stories here at DonaldBest.CA. You’ve visited hundreds of times in the last few years.

Faskens lawyer Gerald L Ranking

Today you read evidence of how your senior partner and colleague Gerald L. Ranking didn’t submit a claim for costs to the Supreme Court of Canada – because Gerry and the senior managing partners at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP knew that their purported client, ‘PricewaterhouseCoopers East Caribbean Firm’ does not, and did not, exist at any time.

Ranking and Faskens did not want to double-down on their fraud upon the Supreme Court of Canada and have the SCC issue another cost order to what the lawyers know is a false, phoney, criminally fraudulent, non-existent ‘client’.

That’s all laid out in the articles that Faskens staff read today, including Why did Fasken Martineau lawyer Gerald Ranking not submit costs to the Supreme Court of Canada?

But hey… if you bump into your colleague in the hallowed halls of your Bay Street tower, you might want to consider (or not) asking Gerald Ranking this one question about money-laundering:

During the Nelson Barbados Group Ltd. civil case, about a million dollars in costs was paid to Faskens and Ranking in trust for their fraudulent non-existent ‘client’. So where did Faskens and Ranking transfer the money received ‘in trust’ for their phoney client?

The one thing we do know about where the money went is that it was never deposited into any bank account in the name ‘PricewaterhouseCoopers East Caribbean Firm’ as the court ordered.

Fasken’s and Ranking’s client doesn’t exist, never existed – and they know it. The use of a phony non-existent entity for court and monetary transactions is a recognized badge of fraud and money-laundering.

So where did the million dollars end up?

Will the Law Society of Upper Canada audit the financial transactions of one of the big Bay Street Boys Club law firms? Not a chance, my friends.

Not. A. Chance.

by Donald Best in Ontario, Canada

 

Colin Perkel – Toronto Star fake news hit piece targets lawyer Paul Slansky

Hired Gun Hit-Piece Journalist Colin Perkel

Colin Perkel’s new Toronto Star hit-piece targeting lawyer Paul Slansky contains such deliberately limited information that it can only be called fake news.

It is a real shame to see a career journalist like Colin Perkel writing agenda-driven propaganda at the behest of his corporate masters – when he must know that he is being used to deliver half-truths in furtherance of a cover-up of criminal behaviour by senior Ontario lawyers.

After his first hit-piece against my lawyer Paul Slansky, published June 21, 2016, Perkel did not reply to my offers to be interviewed.

At the same time, persons using the Toronto Star computer network downloaded from my website; court documents, audio files and exhibits that conclusively prove that Toronto lawyers Lorne Silver, Gerald Ranking and Sebastien Kwidzinski lied to the courts to convict me in absentia (while I was out of the country and unaware of the proceeding) of contempt of civil court.

Junior lawyer Sebastien Kwidzinski and senior Ontario lawyers Gerald Ranking, Lorne Silver deliberately lied to the courts.

The DonaldBest.CA articles that the Toronto Star reporters read also documented (supported by sworn affidavits and court transcripts) that no judge and no court has ever listened to the voice recordings that prove that I was convicted and jailed upon the deliberate lies, perjury and deception of corrupt Toronto lawyers Lorne Silver, Gerald Ranking and Sebastien Kwidzinski.

The judges who never listened to my audio recordings include Justice Susan Healey – whose comments Perkel loves to selectively quote in his articles. Perkel knows that truth, but the truth is not included in his commissioned hit-piece:

Justice Susan Healey made her decision and comments based upon the court record that excluded the voice recordings and other irrefutable evidence of illegal acts by the named lawyers.

Read more

Does Canada’s justice system hold any hope for common citizens?

A reader asks: With so many elements of Canada’s legal infrastructures failing its citizens, do you think there is hope for any real recourse for common citizens?

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Dear ‘S’,

Thank you for your kind and supportive email.

At the moment there is no real access to justice for ordinary Canadians. It can be fairly said that never before in Canadian history have the people and the justice system been so far apart.

It could also be fairly said that the elites who crafted and run the system – both the lawyers and ex-lawyers now known as ‘judges’ – are completely divorced from the people.

The only question is what form the rebellion will take when it comes.

Increasingly I see a section of the population completely dismissing the justice system as irrelevant in any decision making process where they believe they have been wronged. There is also a realization that we have a class-based justice system where rule of law is scarcely remembered by the courts and not at all by the legal profession.

This is producing a dangerous undermining of the very foundations of Canadian society – and if not stopped will produce a society like many around the world, where the justice system is known as nothing but a corrupt and owned weapon of the upper-class elites.

When the Toronto Star can report without contradiction that the Law Society of Upper Canada covered up hundreds of cases where Ontario lawyers committed criminal offenses against their clients, little more need be said.

Yours truly,

Donald Best

Does Your Lawyer have a Criminal Record? That’s possible in Ontario, Canada.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Welcome to the Province of Ontario – where convicted pedophiles and proven thieves meet the ‘Good Character’ standard for licensing by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Yet another convicted and jailed pedophile has been approved to continue as a licensed Ontario lawyer practicing in the area of ‘Family Law’.

Senior lawyer Martin Schulz will be allowed to continue to practice family law – despite being sentenced to 45 days in jail after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography. The Crown prosecutor dropped more serious charges as part of a plea bargain.

Schulz had hundreds of child sex photos and movies on his computer. Think of the ruined lives, the devastation, the pain of these little children – but the Law Society Tribunal decided about Schulz:

“We find no reasonable grounds for believing that a significant risk of harm to members of the public exists.”

September 14, 2016 Decision of Law Tribunal members Sabita Maraj, Susan T. McGrath (chair), Frederika ‘Freddy’ M. Rotter.

The tribunal found that Schulz could continue to practice family law with a restriction that he could not represent children and would not be alone with any person under the age of 18 years old.

As a spokesperson for the Law Society stated, a past criminal record – even for child sexual assault – doesn’t preclude someone from receiving a licence to practice law.

If that is the law society standard, then that is the standard. After all… lawyers alone regulate and set the standards for the legal profession.

The lesson for the Ontario public is this:

Your lawyer might have a criminal record. The Law Society won’t tell you… and you probably won’t know.

And, as was shown in the recent Toronto Star ‘Broken Trust’ investigation of the law society, your lawyer might be one of the hundreds of lawyers who in the past few years committed serious criminal offenses against their clients, but were never charged because the law society covered it up.

Law Society Tribunal members who approved licensing of pedophile Martin Schultz: (L-R) Sabita Maraj, Susan T. McGrath (chair), Frederika 'Freddy' M. Rotter.

Law Society Tribunal members who approved licensing of pedophile Martin Schultz: (L-R) Sabita Maraj, Susan T. McGrath (chair), Frederika ‘Freddy’ M. Rotter.

What are the Law Society’s senior benchers and Tribunal thinking to allow convicted pedophiles and other persons with criminal records to practice as lawyers? Have they lost touch with reality? They have certainly lost touch with Canadians.

By continuing to license persons with criminal records, and by covering up hundreds of crimes and other acts of wrongdoing by lawyers – the Law Society of Upper Canada is seriously undermining the reputation of Ontario’s legal profession.

For more, watch the above video and read these past articles at DonaldBest.CA:

Time for Independent Oversight of Canada’s legal profession

Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada approved & licensed known pedophile to be children’s lawyer – with predictable results.

Here is the Martin Schulz decision of the Law Society Tribunal (download pdf)

Time for Independent Oversight of Canada’s legal profession

“It is time to bring Canada’s legal profession into compliance with modern standards of independent oversight and external accountability.”

In a previous article, I told how Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada licensed a known pedophile to practice Child Protection Law – with predictable results. (You can read that article right here.)

What were the Law Society’s senior benchers thinking to do such a thing? Have they lost touch with reality? How did they suppose ordinary Canadians would perceive this? Did they not consider the welfare of the children who would be exposed to this pedophile lawyer?

Or… was the Law Society of Upper Canada so completely embraced with a sense of entitlement and superiority that duty to the public trust simply never entered the equation? I suspect that was the case – and remains so today.

I’ve expanded upon that theme in my first ‘op-ed’ video production to call for independent oversight of Canada’s legal profession. In the video I contrast how Canadians impose independent oversight and external accountability upon the police (with good reason) – yet we continue to allow our legal profession to regulate itself in the face of mounting evidence that this arrangement is not working out – to put it mildly.

Now don’t get me wrong here… the vast majority of Canada’s lawyers and judges do their best every day to deliver the best justice they can within the rules, laws and system that we have. And thank g*d that they do, because we have all the examples we need in some other countries to see what an entirely corrupt system does to individuals.

To borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill… Canada’s justice system is the worst – except for all the others.

And yet; increasingly, ordinary Canadians see that the power and authority (two entirely different concepts) conferred upon our lawyers and judges is too often abused or in the least, misapplied for reasons that range from overwhelmed, under-resourced courts to disturbing incidents of corruption and coverups at all levels.

Among the the rank and file of Canada’s legal profession, there has developed a distinct lack of courage to do the right thing.

Ordinary Canadians see a legal profession that once was the champion of Rule of Law now reduced to padding time dockets to meet Bay Street rents.

Canadian lawyers acknowledge that Ontario has a special problem

In the last two years as I expanded my advocacy for Self-Represented Litigants, I’ve spoken to many lawyers, Crown Attorneys and even a few judges/retired judges across Canada – right from Newfoundland through the Maritimes, into Quebec, onto the prairies and to our West Coast.

It is a fair comment to say that the general reputation of Ontario’s lawyers and the Law Society of Upper Canada is not exactly stellar in the eyes of many legal professionals outside of the province. In a phrase, the major Toronto law firms’ culture of ‘big money and big politics’ is viewed with disdain even in small Ontario communities.

But the systemic faults of the legal profession that are magnified in Big Law Ontario are not absent from other provinces.

Throughout Canada, lawyers are regulated, investigated and disciplined by the same people they went to law school with, the same people they work with and the same people they attend office parties and BBQs with.

Across Canada, when it comes to the legal profession, there is…

  • No independent oversight.
  • No independent investigations of lawyer misconduct.
  • No external accountability.
  • No transparency.

A growing legacy of scandals, cover-ups and whitewash means that it is time for independent investigations of lawyer misconduct in the short term – with the long term goal of bringing modern concepts of independent oversight to legal professionals who, like the police, have tremendous individual and group authority and power, with the attendant potential for abuse.

It is time to bring Canada’s legal profession into compliance with modern standards of independent oversight and external accountability.

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