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Appellate, Commercial Litigation

More flexibility needed to avoid drawn-out discipline matters

Facing a lengthy Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) investigation can not only be emotionally draining and stressful on a lawyer, but they are also restricted from conducting certain roles, such as being an articling principal, Toronto commercial litigator and appellate counsel Brian Radnoff, tells Law Times.

Radnoff, partner at Lerners LLP and counsel in law society disciplinary matters, says that while some matters that reach the tribunal move quite quickly, others seem to drag on “far too long.”

According to recent statistics presented to LSUC Convocation, as reported by Law Times, the median age of complaints in its investigation department’s queue was 308 days in the third quarter of 2015, up from 246 in the third quarter of 2014. LSUC's policy target is 240 days. 

Law Times notes that only 150 or so complaints ever reach the disciplinary tribunal level, but LSUC is dealing with 3,000 to 3,500 complaints at any one time, and takes an average of eight months to process each matter.

While the hearing process is fairly efficient, Radnoff says in the article, part of the problem of time and an increasing inventory may relate to the hard stances the LSUC takes on some matters, such as mortgage fraud. 

“Because the penalties for knowing assistance in mortgage fraud can be quite severe ... you’re going to get more lawyers fighting things and that means more hearings on complicated, long, drawn-out matters,” he says.

“My concern is that the law society, in prosecuting these discipline matters, has to be more flexible. There has to be some understanding that not every case is the same and that a negotiated solution is always better than a contested one.”

To Read More Brian Radnoff Posts Click Here
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