Canadian Lawyer

March 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 6 www.canadianlawyermag.com NEWS BRIEFS Finding reward in leaving the big firms to hang her shingle Vancouver's Bahar Hafizi started her own corporate practice to gain flexibility and control MAKING A move from big-firm corporate lawyer to hanging her own shingle two years ago is probably one of the most challenging things Bahar Hafizi has done. And the most rewarding. "It was something I had to do, and I am so glad I did, despite the hard work to get here," says Hafizi, who was called to the bar in 2001 after getting her law degree at the University of British Columbia. She is now managing partner at BH Legal. Hafizi wants to send a message to other lawyers — especially women — that there is a path forward if they want flexibility and a sense of ownership that comes from building a practice. However, she cautions that young lawyers "put in the work" before heading off on their Sexual assault complainant can sue negligent Calgary police A Calgary woman can pursue a lawsuit against the Calgary Police Service for negligent handling of her sexual assault complaint on the grounds police failed to arrest the alleged perpetrator until more than four years after the incident, leading to events that ended his prosecution. "The principles protecting police investigative discretion from private law obligations to complainants do not preclude finding a duty of care in this case," wrote Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Justice Nicholas Devlin. "CPS sabotaged its own, judicially confirmed investigative outcome, in a straightforward but serious criminal case." BCSC ruling enforceable in Nevada The Supreme Court of Nevada has unanimously ruled that a British Columbia Securities Commission's decision ordering an alleged fraudster to pay $21.7 million can be enforced there. The court agreed the BCSC's order was enforceable pursuant to Nevada's Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act. Michael Lathigee, who resided in Vancouver, then moved to Las Vegas, allegedly defrauded investors by raising millions of dollars without informing investors of the financial state of the companies he controlled. Instead of using the funds for the foreclosures of residential properties, Lathigee allegedly used these funds to create loans to related companies. Adoption process in Alberta to be standardized, simplified Alberta's Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act 2020, (No. 2), meant to make it simpler and easier for families to navigate the provincial adoption system, received royal assent on Dec. 9 and will come into force June 1. The act seeks to promote transparency among licensed adoption agencies and provide adult adoptees, birth parents and siblings with better access to adoption information. "I'm proud to make changes that will help connect more children with forever loving homes and ensure that the adoption process is easier for prospective adoptive parents," said Rebecca Schulz, Alberta's minister of children's services. The prevailing adoption legislation has been in place since 2005. $11.5M contingency fee for Indigenous benefits settlement overturned An Alberta Court of Appeal judge overturned a review officer's decision that a law firm's 20-per-cent contingency fee for handling an Indigenous agricultural benefits settlement was "not clearly unreasonable." Instead, he substituted the $11.5-million fee with a lower amount, yet to be determined. "The reasons and decision of the RO [review officer] . . . contain 'palpable and overriding errors' of mixed fact and law," Justice Donald Lee wrote in an October decision, Tallcree First Nation v Rath & Company. It involved a dispute over the fee payable to the Alberta law firm of Rath & Company. Alberta QB justice with niche in commercial law retires Justice Juliana Topolniski of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta retired Dec. 30, 2020 with a virtual ceremony attended by justices of the Supreme Court of Canada and Alberta's Court of Appeal. A native of Winnipeg and a law graduate from the University of Alberta, Topolniski spent 19 years as a lawyer before being appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench in 2003. WEST UPDATE Bahar Hafizi

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