Canadian Appeals Monitor Information and Commentary on Upcoming and Recent Appeal Court Decisions

Category Archives: Professions

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There are times when you don’t want to make partner…

Posted in Case Comments, Labour and Employment, Professions

Overview

Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) and the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (“UKSC”) both had cause to consider the nature of partnership, and when certain protections due to employees or workers are extended to partners. While the two cases presented very different scenarios – the Canadian case concerning human rights, and the UK decision concerning employment rights – both decisions suggested that partners may indeed be employees in certain situations.

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The Bright Line Rule: The SCC Reconsiders Its Approach to Conflicts of Interest

Posted in Case Comments, Professions


In a recent decision, Canadian National Railway Co. v. McKercher LLP, 2013 SCC 39, the Supreme Court of Canada revisited the “bright line” rule that applies to conflicts of interest among current clients. This rule, which was first articulated in R. v. Neil, [2002] 3 S.C.R. 631, provides that:

“… a lawyer may not represent one client whose interests are directly adverse to the immediate interests of another current client — even if the two mandates are unrelated — unless both clients consent after receiving full disclosure (and preferably independent legal advice), and the lawyer reasonably

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Is Repetition the Sincerest Form of Flattery? The Supreme Court’s Decision in Cojocaru v. British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Centre

Posted in Case Comments, Health, Professions

Introduction

The Supreme Court has rendered its decision in Cojocaru v. British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, a case concerned with the propriety of judicial adoption verbatim of counsel’s submissions in the Court’s decision. Beyond the issue of when extensive incorporation of a party’s submission into a judicial decision rebuts the presumption of judicial integrity and impartiality, the decision illustrates the difference between judicial writing and other forms of written expression. Unlike academic, artistic or scientific writing, judicial prose is not required, or indeed expected, to be original. All that is required is that the reasons demonstrate that

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The UK and Canadian Supreme Courts to Consider the Legal Status of Equity Partners

Posted in Administrative, Case Comments, Labour and Employment, Professions

Can equity partners at professional firms take advantage of statutory employment law protections? Both the UK and Canadian Supreme Courts have recently granted leave in cases which consider that question. In the UK, Clyde & Co LLP v Bates Van Winkelhof concerns a whistle blower claim, money laundering in Tanzania, and allegations of sexual discrimination. In Canada, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal) is, in typical Canadian fashion, far less exciting. It concerns the application of a national full service law firm’s mandatory retirement policy.

Background

The majority of multi-lawyer law firms in the United Kingdom, … Continue Reading

Top Appeals of 2013: The Appeals Monitor Looks Forward

Posted in Bankruptcy and Debt, Case Previews, Class Actions, Features, Procedure, Professions, Torts

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”
- Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
“Weatherman wet-fingers the sky
He pokes it out, he pulls it in
He don’t know why.”
- Gordon Downie (1964- )

 

In the spirit of the season, Canadian Appeals Monitor has decided not only to look back on the key appeals of 2012, but also to make predictions about those Supreme Court of Canada appeals most likely to impact businesses and professionals in 2013. Predicting which appeal judgments are likely to have important and lasting effects before they are even decided involves a high degree of guesswork,

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This Week at the SCC (14/12/2012)

Posted in Aboriginal, Communications, Conflict of Laws, Health, Intellectual Property, Labour and Employment, Media, Professions, Regulatory, This Week at the SCC

Cases Decided

The Supreme Court of Canada released one decision this week of interest to Canadian businesses and professions.

In Reference re Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-167 and Broadcasting Order CRTC 2010-168, 2012 SCC 68, Rothstein J. for the majority of the Court held that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (“CRTC”) lacked the jurisdiction to create a market-based ”value for signal” regime.  The proposed regime would have enabled private local television stations (“broadcasters”) to negotiate direct compensation for the retransmission of their signals by broadcast distribution undertakings (“BDUs”), such as cable and satellite companies, and to prohibit

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This Week at the SCC (30/11/2012)

Posted in Bankruptcy and Debt, Intellectual Property, Labour and Employment, Professions, Securities, This Week at the SCC

Cases Decided

The Supreme Court of Canada released one decision this week of interest to Canadian businesses and professions.

In Construction Labour Relations v. Driver Iron Inc., 2012 SCC 65, the Court held the Alberta Court of Appeal erred in quashing a decision of the Alberta Labour Relations Board on judicial review.  The Court’s brief judgment criticizes the Court of Appeal for taking an overly rigid approach to the Board’s reasons when finding that the Board failed to consider various issues of statutory interpretation under the Alberta Labour Relations Code.

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Hot Off the Press – World Class Actions: A Guide to Group and Representative Actions Around the Globe

Posted in Aboriginal, Class Actions, Communications, Construction and Real Estate, Energy, Financial Services, Franchise and Distribution, Health, Insurance, Media, Municipal, Procedure, Professions, Securities, Transportation

In the newly published World Class Actions: A Guide to Group and Representative Actions Around the Globe, McCarthy Tétrault litigators David Hamer and Shane D’Souza co-authored the “Multijurisdictional and Transnational Class Litigation: Lawsuits Heard ‘Round the World” chapter. The chapter offers guidance to international lawyers who represent clients involved in cross-border, multinational and international class actions.

World Class Actions is a practical guide for lawyers, clients, legal support professionals, academics, policymakers and judges on the procedures available for class, group and representative actions internationally. Each chapter is written by a local attorney familiar with the laws, best practices, legal … Continue Reading

SCC to Consider Conflict of Interest Rule

Posted in Case Previews, Professions

Introduction

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to appeal in Canadian National Railway v. McKercher LLP et al., which raises significant issues relating to conflicts of interest, legal ethics, and the appropriate balance to be struck between the courts and the law societies in regulating the legal profession.

Perhaps most importantly, the case will require the Court to consider the “bright-line rule” and the related “professional litigant exception.” This rule was first articulated in R. v. Neil, and was subsequently re-affirmed in Strother v. 3464920 Canada Inc.. It provides:

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Shoulda Woulda? Alberta Court of Appeal Considers the Mental Element of the Tort of Civil Conspiracy

Posted in Case Comments, Class Actions, Professions, Torts

Introduction

The Alberta Court of Appeal has provided its latest contribution to the analysis of the tort of civil conspiracy. The case’s importance lies in its consideration of the mental element of the tort. The case is also interesting for the absence of any reference to the recent Ontario Court of Appeal jurisprudence on the matter, perhaps signifying the development of distinct Western-Canadian jurisprudence on the subjection of economic torts. Mraiche also highlights the inherently contradictory nature of the Canadian formulation of the tort of civil conspiracy, which is a tort that involves both subjective and objective mental elements.

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ONCA to Consider Application of Deemed Undertaking Rule to Producing-Party’s Own Lawyer

Posted in Case Comments, Procedure, Professions

In Sobeski v. Mamo, now on appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal, Justice Perell heard a motion by a defendant in a defamation action for relief from the deemed undertaking rule.

Background

The defendant in the defamation action was a lawyer who, in a previous piece of litigation, had represented the opposing party to the plaintiff in the defamation action. In the defamation action, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant-lawyer had made defamatory remarks about him to the media during the previous litigation. The defendant-lawyer had told the media that the plaintiff’s version of events in the previous

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U.S. Supreme Court Affirms a Policy Preference for Arbitration

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Procedure, Professions, Torts

The United States Supreme Court has allowed the appeal in KPMG LLP v. Robert Cocchi, reinforcing its policy preference for arbitrability, even in cases where some causes of action are arbitrable, while others are not. In particular, the Court stated that “[a] court may not issue a blanket refusal to compel arbitration merely on the grounds that some of the claims could be resolved by the court without arbitration.”

The Decision

The case arose out of an action by a number of individuals and entities who bought limited partnership interests in one of three limited partnerships known as Rye

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SCC to Reconsider the “Material Contribution” Test for Causation

Posted in Case Previews, Class Actions, Professions, Torts

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave in an appeal that may significantly limit liability in tort.  The case, Clements v. Clements, will require the Court to reconsider the “material contribution” test for causation, and in particular, whether it should be restricted to two narrow situations.

Decisions Below

In the judgment below, Clements (Litigation Guardian of) v. Clements, the British Columbia Court of Appeal found that the driver of a motorcycle was not liable to his passenger for injuries sustained as the result of an accident.  The driver was travelling at excessive speeds, and had overloaded the

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Personal Liability of Class Counsel for the Costs of a Class Proceeding

Posted in Case Previews, Class Actions, Procedure, Professions

On September 26, 2011, the Ontario Court of Appeal will hear an appeal from a decision of Cullity J., who rightly characterized the issue on the motion before him as one “of considerable importance for the proper conduct of class proceedings.” The decision will be important to class counsel since it addresses the duty to explain and clearly document the risks of adverse costs consequences to their representative plaintiff clients. If upheld, the decision may also provide a potential avenue for defendants in successful class actions to seek costs where class counsel have not discharged their burden.

In Attis v.

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