Canadian Lawyer

December/January 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 10 www.canadianlawyermag.com NEWS BRIEFS Court of Appeal split over constitutionality of warrantless search Appellant will have an automatic right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada ONTARIO'S HIGHEST COURT has dismissed the appeal of a man who argued his Charter rights were violated when a warrantless police search of his basement, during his arrest for assault, turned up methamphetamine. But as the court was split 2-1 on the issue, the unsuccessful appellant will have an auto- matic right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Matthew Stairs argued that the warrantless police search, which was conducted during his arrest and revealed he was in possession of methamphetamine, amounted to a breach of his s. 8 Charter protection against unreasonable search or seizure. Justices Michael Fairburn and Alison Harvison Young rejected Stairs' argument, but Justice Ian Nordheimer found the police conduct unconstitutional. The incident began when another motorist saw Stairs repeatedly striking his female passenger. The witness called police, who located Stairs' vehicle at a residential address close to where the 911 call was made. The police knocked and announced their presence, but they were not answered and entered the home. There they found a woman with fresh facial injuries. Stairs was in the basement and the police went downstairs to arrest him. At trial, the police said that while one officer attended to Stairs, the other conducted a "sweep" of the New contingency fee regime set for July 2021 Uncertainty remains but, overall, Ontario's recent contingency-fee reforms are "far and away an improvement," says Adam Wagman, senior partner at Howie Sacks and Henry LLP. The new standard form agreement is shorter than that which many lawyers are currently using, the language is simpler and the fee calculation is more straightforward, which clears up a source of frequent confusion among clients, he says. But there is still room for further improvement, with aspects of the regulation remaining unclear, adds Wagman, who was president of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association in 2016 and 2017. Lawyers producing podcast for CPD training In the summer of 2019, Dana Lerner, Nancy Stitt, Stacy Zosky and Judy Petersiel got together because they thought it was "frustrating and crazy" that the law profession had not developed an easier and more accessible method of earning CPD hours. They teamed up with CBC producer, broadcaster and reporter Ann Lang to launch LAWPOD, Law Society of Ontario accredited programming for lawyers and paralegals. LAWPOD offers podcasts on mental health, legal tech and professionalism for in-house lawyers, as well as The Rise and Fall of Heenan Blaikie with the former firm's former managing partner Norm Bacal. But most of the content is relevant to equality, diversity and inclusion. Proposed change to Business Corporations Act Ontario's legislation on business corporations may soon be amended in changes proposed by Bill 213, the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2020. The bill proposes to repeal s. 118 (3), which provides that at least 25 per cent of directors of a corporation should be resident Canadians. "This change is likely to entice more foreign-owned or foreign-controlled corporations to incorporate their businesses in Ontario," said Whitney Abrams of Minden Gross LLP. COVID-19: rise in consumer protection litigation, financial institution regulatory activity While the COVID-19 pandemic puts strain on the Canadian economy, consumer- protection-based litigation is on the rise, as is corporate misconduct, says Gillian Dingle, partner and practice group leader in the litigation department at Torys LLP. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, which regulates financial institutions, is also growing its supervision and enforcement team. On the litigation front, claims involving breach of the legislation, negligence and breach of contract are all trending, and Dingle sees a focus on conflict-of-interest claims. Caravel Law acquires legal tech startup MyLegalBriefcase MyLegalBriefcase is a software solution that can assist smaller clients that require legal services that are not only effective but also affordable. Caravel Law has appointed Monica Goyal, creator of MyLegalBriefcase, to the new role of director of legal innovation. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has created the need for remote working arrangements, the firm expects the newly established position will be especially relevant for these times. "There is a lot of burgeoning innovation in the legal space, and I look forward to furthering the Caravel technology position," said Goyal. ONTARIO UPDATE Chris Sewrattan Adam Wagman Gillian Dingle

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