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Dentons | Canada | 18 Jul 2017

Judge's ongoing duty to ensure expert witness objectivity

The Court of Appeal recently confirmed the ongoing gatekeeper function of trial judges in the context of expert testimony. A trial judge's role does not end after the preliminary threshold stage, but continues throughout the proceeding to protect the justice system's integrity. The concept of fairness is a hallmark of Canada's judicial system and necessary to maintain public confidence in the......
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Dentons | Canada | 11 Jul 2017

Combating abuse or chilling strategic decision making?

The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed its ability to award costs against lawyers. Despite the special role played by defence lawyers in criminal proceedings, the Supreme Court held that judges retain ultimate discretion to manage and control the proceedings before them. The court found that costs had been properly awarded against the lawyer in this case, as the circumstances were extreme and......
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Dentons | Canada | 23 May 2017

Expulsion of a partner can result in expectation and aggravated damages

The Court of Appeal for Ontario recently held that damages for lost profits may be awarded where a partner is wrongfully expelled from the partnership, and that a court can award aggravated damages where the partner is expelled in bad faith. To expel a partner properly, the partnership must follow the terms of the partnership agreement, Ontario's Partnership Act and common law.
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Dentons | Canada | 9 May 2017

Libel in the age of the Internet: click with caution

In the age of the Internet, the spectre of liability for libel hangs over many online users. At the click of a button, a person can re-tweet, re-transmit and disseminate libellous material, in a seemingly endless chain of liability. Courts are especially wary of internet libel and treat it as the most nefarious manifestation of defamation.
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Dentons | Canada, USA | 2 May 2017

Ontario Court of Appeal disqualifies law firm despite compliance with ethical screen

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently disqualified a law firm from acting for one of its longstanding insurer clients in an insurance dispute where a lawyer who had assisted with carriage of the plaintiff's claim in the dispute moved his practice to the law firm representing the defendant insurer. While the decision is not apt to have an extensive impact on lawyers transferring between law......
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Dentons | Canada | 25 Apr 2017

Parents beware: an update on social host liability in Ontario

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently released an important decision regarding the law of social host liability in Ontario. The case is a wake-up call for social hosts – in particular, the parents of teenage children – who assume that they have no risk or exposure of liability if an intoxicated guest leaves their home and injures themselves or someone else.
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Dentons | Canada | 11 Apr 2017

Court of appeal clarifies jurisdiction to award costs against non-party

The Court of Appeal for Ontario recently considered the scope of the courts' jurisdiction to order costs against a non-party and examined the statutory and inherent authority for making such orders. The decision is a sharp warning to those that seek to eschew personal responsibility for litigation misconduct and use a corporate entity in an attempt to insulate themselves from an adverse costs......
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Dentons | Canada | 28 Mar 2017

Court overturns C$125 million damages award based on extent of inadmissible hearsay evidence relied on by judge

In May 2016 the Federal Court of Appeal overturned a judgment for C$125 million in damages and sent the case back to the trial judge for redetermination. The court concluded that the trial judge, in reaching his decision, may have relied on inadmissible hearsay evidence tendered at trial on behalf of the plaintiff. The judgment reviewed the general principles underlying the grave danger in......
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Dentons | Canada | 14 Mar 2017

Judicial inattentiveness? Speak up or forever hold your peace!

We have all heard the expression 'wakey, wakey', but imagine representing a client who has waited years for his or her case to reach trial only to find out that the trial judge falls asleep from time to time. What obligations, if any, does counsel have to a client at trial when the trier of fact is 'asleep at the wheel'?
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Dentons | Canada | 28 Feb 2017

Law Society's misguided prosecution drives stern rebuke and adverse costs award

The Law Society Tribunal Appeal Division recently ordered the Law Society of Upper Canada to pay C$1.3 million in costs to two lawyers who were cleared of conflict of interest allegations in relation to their work for various Hollinger entities. This decision will affect both the Law Society's approach to professional misconduct hearings and the Law Society Tribunal's approach to costs.
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