Thanks to a comment Noel Semple on the legal ethics email list to which I belong, I was alerted to the fact that the Advocates’ Society has filed a factum as an intervener in the appeal by Joseph Groia of the finding against him of misconduct — “incivility,” principally — by the Law Society of Upper Canada. (See also the Advocates’ Society note on the matter.) The appeal has yet to be heard. The Advocates’ Society has also placed online Groia’s factum, that of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association as intervener and the respondent Law Society’s factum.
This important matter has been in the legal system for many years. Some time in 2000, during a trial in which the Ontario Securities Commission sought to convict John Felderhof of insider trading and misleading statements in the affairs of Bre-X Minerals Ltd., one of the defence counsel, Joseph Groia, made statements about the (role and) conduct of the prosecutor that were described by Justice Archie Campbell in a subsequent hearing about the trial judge’s possible loss of jurisdiction as “unrestrained attacks on [the prosecutor’s] professional integrity.” Allegations of further incivility and improper conduct as an advocate led, only very eventually, to an application before a Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel, noticed on November 18, 2009. The allegations are detailed in the notice of application. On June 28, 2012 the hearing panel, in a very lengthy decision, found that the Society had proven all of the allegations of misconduct. And on April 18, 2013 Joseph Groia was suspended for two months and order to pay $246,960.53 in costs. Groia has appealed the finding that his conduct amounted to “incivility” and the penalty imposed.
These documents (together with the Court of Appeal comments upon the appeal of Justice Campbell’s ruling) make a significant package of materials suitable for any teaching situation concerned with professional responsibility and the limits of an advocate’s role.