Makes its First Appearance at Discipline

Earlier this year the Supreme Court of Canada imposed strict time limits for criminal proceedings in R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27. Absent special circumstances, a matter in provincial court must be completed within 18 months and a matter in superior court must be completed within 30 months. The media reports that, as a result of this decision, many cases have already been stayed in the criminal court system. The Jordan decision is based on s. 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which does not apply to discipline hearings. However, it was only a matter of time before the principles of that case were raised in a discipline hearing context.

In Coady v Law Society of Upper Canada, 2016 ONSC 7543, a lawyer had her licence revoked some years ago for various forms of misconduct suggesting ungovernability. She brought a motion asking the court to reconsider its earlier decision based on delays at her discipline hearing citing the Jordan case. The Court dismissed her motion as frivolous and vexatious and because it did not have jurisdiction to reconsider its decision. This case indicates a reluctance by the courts to apply the Jordan case to past discipline proceedings, at least.

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