Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

September 24, 2009 17:26 ET

Civility Complaints Protocols Established

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 24, 2009) - The Law Society and the Ontario Courts have established Civility Complaints Protocols designed to improve civility and professionalism among lawyers and paralegals appearing in court proceedings.

The Civility Complaints Protocols were developed in consultation with the Chief Justices of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice.

"As the regulator of lawyers and paralegals, the Law Society is committed to promoting the highest standards of civility and professionalism," Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar said. "The Law Society has worked with our partners in the justice system to develop these protocols which will contribute to the effective administration of justice for the people of Ontario."

The protocols provide a procedure for trial judges and justices of the peace to refer incidents of misconduct to the Law Society. They also provide for a new process whereby judges can request that lawyers receive mentoring from a panel of senior members of the bar. The mentor will meet with the lawyer to discuss the conduct in question and assist in his or her development as an advocate.

Commenting on the new Civility Complaints Protocols, the Honourable Patrick LeSage, co-author of the Report of the Review of Large and Complex Case Procedures said, "I wish to commend the Law Society and members of the judiciary for developing a protocol for handling matters of misconduct in the court room and achieving such a fine result in a complex and delicate area."

"The nature of our work requires that Crown and defence counsel maintain good relations with each other and with the bench," said Frank Addario, president of the Criminal Lawyers' Association. "Ontario's senior criminal lawyers have a long history of mentoring junior defence counsel. We support the Law Society's effort to ensure that the newer members of our bar develop their skills against high expectations of civility and professionalism."

Sandra Forbes, president of The Advocates' Society, concurred. "We are pleased to participate in this mentoring initiative and look forward to working with the Law Society, the courts and the bar to achieve our mutual goal of enhanced professionalism and civility amongst the participants in the justice system."

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate 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 act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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