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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Being right doesn't matter if you can't prove it

In my latest post on the Mensa Canada blog, I discussed why I always refer to a "legal system" and not a "justice system". My theory is that it matters what we call it, because talking about a "justice system" makes people think that good always wins over bad. Talking about a "legal system" makes it clear that it's not about who is good or bad, but about what evidence exists. Check it out here. You don't have to be a member to read the blog.


  1. Lynne,

    Excellent article. You call it a theory which makes me wonder how the legal and justice systems see it. This brings to mind The Law Societies in all Provinces. Who monitors them? Who do they answer to? They are a Society that looks after IMO- First- Lawyers, Second- the little people. If we have a problem with a lawyer(s) we can then write a letter of complaint and it may or not be looked into by the Society. They are not a Court at least not in the Legal sense, I don't believe. If one has a Lawyer Billing concern, the Law Societies make you aware of Assessment Court. I have dealt with assessment court in the Niagara Region. We were told in so many words to lower our expectations of a high percentage assessment against the lawyers. Nice protection for the Lawyers.
    What concerns me is that applicants have to go through so many hurdles to get 'justice' through the 'legal' system. The cost can be 'very high' not to mention, stress and time. No wonder so few challenge the system and get to Trial. I have challenged (rightfully so, based on a great deal of evidence) the system for 15 years.
    Why would an opposition lawyer allow that for his client? Why would my legal advisor(s) allow that for me, his client? Why do Motion Judges keep entertaining these Lawyers with Motions and Hearings over and over when dealing with a case that has been going on for many years? As indicated in my case, 15 years. What is the cost to the system? The integrity of the system?


    1. I know that in my province, the Law Society web page for the public tells people how to go about dealing with a lawyer's bill that is too high. I know for sure that if people call and say their lawyer's bill is unreasonable, they are referred to free resources for challenging the bill. I don't know whether every Law Society does that but I don't see why they wouldn't.

      I understand that every complaint to a Law Society is looked into. Some don't get far, it's true. This is because people write absolutely ridiculous letters saying things like the lawyer disrespected them by not calling back within 30 minutes or that the lawyer didn't smile at them, and a million other perceived slights. These are the people hoping for money for hurt feelings. Then there are a lot of people who don't understand how things work but they are frustrated beyond belief by navigating through the legal system, so they blame it on the lawyer. For example, I once had a client yell at me for being nice to the lawyer on the other side of a lawsuit when we met in court. I had known that lawyer for a good 20 years and there was no reason for me to be mad at him, but the client assumed if he hated the other party, I had to hate the other party's lawyer.

      So the Law Societies have to wade through an awful lot of that silliness even to get to the real complaints that have merit.

      The person who told you to temper your expectations was probably trying to warn you that you wouldn't get your entire bill voided. This management of expectations is necessary. People tend to think - as I said in the original article - that if they are "right" they clean up. They think that they can get their entire legal bill voided and the lawyer will have to work for free. There is nothing unfair about telling someone their bill might be reduced but don't expect it to be completely scrapped.

      Maybe it's not evident to the public, but lawyers do get disciplined, suspended, fined, or even disbarred. You've presented it like a bunch of cowboys circling the wagons, but the truth is, none of us want the liars and cheaters in our profession. They make us all look bad and make our jobs a lot harder. We all have to follow a million rules covering everything from ethics to record-keeping because of those few bad apples.

      I don't know why any given case goes on for 15 years or what the motions are or were. I agree though that it's enough to drive a person nuts for things to take so long. I also agree that the costs are high for individuals and for the system itself. Everyone is constantly looking for better ways to do things, but we can only work within the legislation and the physical infrastructure that we have in place.

      You might also be surprised at how many lawyers of all ages, locations, and experience provide pro bono (free) legal services. I myself participate in at least two free Access to Justice clinics per year. I also participate in the Cancer Society's free wills month (last year we did almost 50 free wills). Plus, of course, I write this blog. Pretty much all lawyers I know participate in some sort of free clinic or volunteer organization. Many firms actually require their lawyers to do pro bono work as part of their contract.


  2. Lynne,

    I, and many others like your blog very much. I wish more people would participate. We appreciate the time and effort that you put into it and the well thought out responses. I have learned a great deal, and I often share with others. Few give back as much as you do.

    As to frivilous claims to Law Societies. There ought to be a law.

    My reference to Assessment. The lawyer's bill was reduced by 15%. Considering what had gone on, it should have been more. I do hope that I can resolve and settle my matter sometime soon. I do have the evidence. I can't say much more at this time, but I hope to.


    1. You're right - people don't discuss things a lot on here, do they? Most like to ask their question and not much else. But I actually get comments all the time in real life about this blog. Almost on a daily basis, someone I see in person mentions it. Also, I often hear from lawyers and law students in this province and other provinces who just need to bounce ideas off someone and think of me because they've seen this blog. Locally, I hosted a radio show for quite a while and people mention that all the time, too. They're just lurking, I guess :)



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