CBA Says White Collar Crime Covered in Criminal Code
The CBA says that Bill C-52, Criminal Code Amendments (sentencing for fraud), should not be passed into law since legislative tools to address serious white-collar crime are already in place in the Criminal Code.
“While fraud can certainly be a serious crime with devastating consequences for its victims, based on our experience as both Crown and defence lawyers from all regions of Canada, we believe that Bill C-52 is directed at a problem that does not exist,” said Suzanne Costom of Montreal, member of the CBA’s National Criminal Justice Section. “We believe that Bill C-52 would not add to the tools already found in the Criminal Code.”
In its five-page letter to the Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the CBA noted that Bill C-52, in calling for mandatory minimum penalties for fraud, would limit judicial discretion to address the individual circumstances of each case.
“Judges routinely factor the amount of a fraud into their determination of an appropriate sentence,” said the CBA in its letter. “In circumstances where the fraud is clearly in excess of one million dollars, the punishment would undoubtedly be very severe.”
The CBA also suggested the Bill would increase pressures on an already taxed criminal justice system. The legislation uses vague and overly broad language which is likely to result in more litigation and longer sentencing hearings, especially given the mandatory jail time involved.
Suzanne Costom presented the CBA submission to the Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights on December 7, 2009. The Bill died on the order paper when Parliament prorogued in December.
CBA submission: www.cba.org/CBA/submissions/pdf/09-63-eng.pdf
Gender Equality in Nepal
Before 1960, women were not permitted to practise law in Nepal. Today, 7.6 per cent of the country’s lawyers are women – a step in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go. To better understand some of the barriers and challenges faced by women lawyers in that country, the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) undertook a nationwide survey. The results are contained in a report, Ringing the Equity Bell, The Role of Women Lawyers in Promoting Equality in Nepal, published by the NBA in cooperation with the Canadian Bar Association, which has been supporting improvements to Nepal’s legal system through an ongoing program of assistance.
Based on the input of more than 1,000 respondents, the report concludes that it is essential that women lawyers (and non-lawyers) occupy positions of leadership in government, the judiciary, and the NBA.
“The rights of women can only be truly advanced when women occupy leadership roles in government and are appointed in significant numbers to the judiciary,” says the report. “Much more remains to be done if women are to become equal partners in Nepal’s development.”
More on the CBA’s International Development Program and the CBA’s Nepal Program, plus an article from National Magazine’s Addendum (March 2009).
The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is committed to providing relevant professional development programming accessible to members of the profession across Canada. The CBA’s new one-stop PD resource site contains unique features to help manage your credits and remain at the forefront of the changing legal education landscape.
Features of the new PD website:
- Combines listings for all CBA Branch, National, and CCCA events in one convenient location, eliminating the need to search through multiple sites.
- Allows you to browse, search and track your credits for all CBA (Branch, CCCA and National) listings, in one convenient website.
- CBA offers accredited programs and all accreditation details are conveniently listed online.
Visit: www.cba.org/pd/index.aspx to create a personalised account based on your PD needs!
To view only upcoming CBABC programs, select the “My Province/Territory” tab and then “British Columbia.”
Two B.C. Candidates Run for CBA National Second Vice-President
Two candidates are vying for the position of Second Vice-President of the CBA for 2010-2011. The candidates are Robert Brun, QC of Vancouver, B.C. and Ken Walton, QC of Victoria, B.C. Once elected, the Second Vice-President goes on to become First Vice-President a year later, and then President of the CBA a year after that.
According to CBA bylaws, only members of Council are eligible to vote. An email containing voting information will be sent to Council members the week of February 8, 2010. Members will cast their ballots online using secure voting technology from February 16 to March 17, 2010. The winners will be announced once the votes are tallied.
More about the candidates: www.cba.org/CBA/News/2009_Releases/2ndvp_1011.aspx
Photo L-R: Robert Brun, QC and Kenneth Walton, QC
MESSAGE FROM CBA PRESIDENT, D. KEVIN CARROLL
Helping Earthquake Relief Efforts in Haiti
Many CBA members have shared their desire to reach out and help in the wake of the massive earthquake in Haiti. As members of a helping profession, we are ready and willing to offer our assistance and support.
With this in mind, I have written to the Federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, The Hon. Jason Kenney, asking for his intervention in dealing with this crisis. I have asked him to take immediate steps to expedite the processing of immigration applications for those affected by the earthquake. We are urging the government to complement its humanitarian assistance with a program to bring Haitians with ties to Canada to our country on a priority basis.
Go to www.cba.org/CBA/News/pdf/haiti_letter.pdf to read the letter to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
Members of our national Citizenship and Immigration Law Section have offered their expertise, pro bono, to help review the applications and necessary paperwork for Canadians and permanent residents who wish to sponsor family members living in Haiti. These lawyers’ names, along with a description of how to take advantage of their services, will be posted on the CBA website.
As individuals, we can also choose to make a financial contribution. The federal government will match individual donations to registered Canadian charities aiding relief efforts in Haiti. Our dollars will deliver water, temporary shelter and medical supplies to those who have lost everything.
Our kindness and generosity can and will make a difference.
CBC has a list of organizations that you can contribute to, all of which are committed to using your contributions to make a real difference in Haiti: www.cbc.ca/haitirelief.
Competition Law Essentials
Recent amendments to Canada’s Competition Act make the key concepts essential knowledge for counsel in various practice areas who have not traditionally handled competition issues, including corporate/commercial; franchising, licensing and distribution; marketing and advertising; and criminal. Join CLEBC for Canada’s New Competition & Foreign Investment Law on Thursday, March 18, 2010 and learn which issues should raise red flags in your practice. Hear discussions of the new merger notification, Investment Canada Act, criminal conspiracy, abuse of dominance and misleading advertising rules, and related new Competition Bureau Enforcement Guidelines.
Learn to Handle Civil Evidence and Manage Expert Evidence
Two popular practice-oriented programs in March 2010 promise interactive learning designed to strengthen litigators’ skills. Learn to apply the laws of evidence in trials at Mastering Civil Evidence 2010: A Hands-On Approach on March 26, 2010. Master the details on managing expert evidence in the trial process at Expert Evidence 2010 on March 25, 2010.
Civil Rules Transition Guide
CLEBC’s must-have guidebook on the new rules will include the full text of the Supreme Court Civil Rules annotated by leading practitioner Craig Dennis, an overview of the rules by Donald Brenner, QC, and Tables of Concordance to help ease the transition to the new rules taking effect in July 2010.
Further information on CLEBC publications and courses is available from CLE customer service at 604-893-2121 (toll-free in Canada at 800-663-0437) or at www.cle.bc.ca.
CBABC Volunteer Registry & Legal Speakers Bureau
The CBABC Volunteer Registry connects lawyers who are interested in volunteering their services with charitable organizations and community groups in need of legal expertise. The CBABC also partners with the People’s Law School and other organizations in the B.C. Legal Speakers Bureau.
How does it work?
Charitable organizations and agencies send the CBABC information as to the kind of legal assistance they require. The request is compared to the registry of volunteer lawyers and, if possible, a match is made.
Types of Volunteer Service
- speak at schools about being a lawyer
- speak on select legal topics
- serve as board or committee member
- provide short-term pro bono legal advice
- mentor foreign lawyers considering practice in Canada.
To sign up or for more information contact Jineane Payne at the CBABC at email@example.com.
These articles were published in the February 2010 issue of BarTalk. © 2010 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.