Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

December 09, 2009 12:52 ET

Stindar K. Lal, Q.C. Appointed New Complaints Resolution Commissioner

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 9, 2009) - Mr. Stindar K. Lal, Q.C. was appointed as the Law Society's Complaints Resolution Commissioner at the December 4 meeting of Convocation.

"We are very pleased that Mr. Lal has accepted the appointment as the Law Society's Complaint Resolution Commissioner," said Treasurer Derry W. A. Millar. "His distinguished career in public service involving accountability in regulatory processes, as well as his experience as an arbitrator, mean that he will make an invaluable contribution to ensuring transparency and sensitivity for members of the public involved in the Law Society's complaints resolution process."

Mr. Lal is a former deputy minister in six different ministries of the Ontario government, including Environment, Consumer and Commercial Relations, Municipal Affairs, Citizenship, Management Board Secretariat, and the Solicitor-General. He served as a Deputy Minister of Justice and lawyer for the government of the Northwest Territories; was involved in the patriation of the Canadian Constitution particularly as it related to the entrenchment of Aboriginal rights; and was instrumental in the establishment of a self-regulating Law Society of the Northwest Territories. Mr. Lal is a long-serving chair of the Inuvialuit Arbitration Board established to resolve disputes arising out of the Land Claims Agreement of the Western Arctic Inuit and the Government of Canada or industry. He also served as general counsel to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. As a lawyer and consultant, Mr. Lal has advised governments in Canada and the world, in countries as diverse as Qatar, Russia and Vietnam, on the establishment of more accountable governmental and regulatory processes.

The Complaints Resolution Commissioner plays a vital role in the Law Society's complaints resolution process. In cases where a complaint against a lawyer or paralegal has been closed and the complainant is unsatisfied with this result, he or she can apply to the Commissioner to review the case. The Commissioner will review the file to ensure that the complaint was handled appropriately and the results were reasonable. This will often involve a face-to-face meeting with complainants, and the Commissioner also has the authority to provide alternative dispute resolution between lawyers or paralegals and their clients for issues that do not require a regulatory response.

Mr. Lal will serve a two-year term starting April 1, 2010. He succeeds Mr. Clare Lewis, Q.C., who has held the post since 2005.

The Law Society of Upper Canada regulates the lawyers and paralegals of Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society ensures that every individual who practises law or provides legal services in Ontario meets standards of learning, professional competence and professional conduct that are appropriate for the legal services provided.

The Law Society has a duty to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario, and to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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