Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thoughtful Quotes on the Civility Issue

"In the hothouse of a trial, particularly when you have a vicious battle going is extremely difficult for somebody to come after the event and pick it apart and say, well, you really shouldn't have said that. "  

     Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie (Law Times Dec.17th, 2012)

"If you look at the civility cases, you do not see lawyers from government, you do not see lawyers from large commercial law firms, you do not see lawyers from the more frankly powerful aspects of the profession."  

     Professor Alice Wooley (Law Times Dec.17th, 2012)

"To have a system that I have to live with as a trial lawyer that tells me I can be found after the fact to have been uncivil without any criteria, guidance is troubling."

     Thomas Heintzman (Law Times Dec.17th, 2012)

"The Law Society may have the legal jurisdiction to initiate disciplinary proceedings against a counsel for alleged uncivil conduct in the face of the court.  But it should never exercise that jurisdiction where, as in this case, the trial judge was in the best position to censure the alleged misconduct but declined to do so.  The Law Society does not enhance its reputation by selectively prosecuting defence counsel for alleged misconduct in the face of the court, but not prosecutors.  And such prosecutions will have a chilling effect on advocates.

     Edward Greenspan and L. David Roebuck (The Horrible Crime of Incivility - Globe & Mail - August 2, 2011)

"There have been incidents of incivility that warrant attention.  This is the behaviour at the extreme end of the scale - the lawyer throwing a cup of coffee at another lawyer, the lawyer swearing in court, the lawyer who is drunk at a client meeting.  Really bad behaviour.  Not merely a question of tone, a persistently unfounded legal argument or the odd intemperate comment...This year, the Supreme Court of Canada in Dore  v. Barreau du Quebec adopted the definition of incivility as "potent displays of disrespect for the participants in the justice system, beyond mere rudeness or discourtesy." Then the Law Society hearing panel in the Groia case imposed a higher standard, defining incivility as "a consistent pattern of rude, provocative or disrupting conduct by the lawyer,  as well as ill-considered or uninformed criticism of the competence, conduct, advice or charges of another lawyer. Should the bar be set so high ?  Or do we need more confidence in our profession that most issues of civility will take care of themselves; that the door of the Law Society should not be the first stop ?  Only when bad conduct, rudeness and acrimony distracts from the real focus of the justice system, interferes with its proper functioning and undermines participation in and use of the justice system does it become a problem warranting the regulator's attention".

     Marie Henein - 5 Big ideas - get a grip on civility - Precedent - October 12, 2012

"The concern with respect to prosecuting lawyers for incivility is not founded on the premise that civility has no place in the work of lawyers.  Rather, it is founded on a deep and well-founded fear that unless the rules and standards of civility are carefully tailored so as not to impair fundamental rights such as confidentiality and the lawyer's duty to vigorously defend the accused they are not in the client's best interest to the extent that they interfere with the discharge of the lawyer's duty to the client."

     Ernest J. Guiste (Incivility as Professional Misconduct - August 25th, 2012)

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