NEWSLETTER – March 2006
Allan Adel, President
Steven Slimovitch & Allen Mendelsohn, Editor(s)
Message from the President
Dear Colleagues and Honorable Judges:
Our guest speakers on April 4, 2006 are members of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Bar of Montreal who published a report on court costs comprising an exhaustive review of the principal issues; analysis of possible solutions, including a comparative study of rules in foreign jurisdictions ; and several audacious recommendations. In September 2005, their superlative efforts were recognized by the Bar of Montreal with an Award of Merit. Their report is available on-line at the web site of the Bar of Montreal, www.barreau.qc.ca/montreal/ (go to “Publications” and select “Rapport : Comité Ad Hoc sur les frais”)
The fundamental issue dealt with in the Report was framed by the Committee as follows:
Do we want equitable recovery of reasonable legal fees awarded to the successful party in civil litigation? or
Do we want the non-recovery of legal costs to remain a barrier to any real access to justice in civil matters?
While the Bar of Montreal has unanimously endorsed the recommendations of the Committee, they have met significant resistance at Quebec Bar Council with whom negotiations are ongoing. A resolution may be submitted to the Annual General Meeting of the Quebec Bar to be held in Montreal on May 13, 2006, which would resolve the matter as far as the Quebec Bar is concerned.
I hope that you will join us at our next dinner meeting on April 4, 2006 to hear more about the recommendations of the Committee and decide for yourselves whether those of us, in particular, who practice in the civil and commercial litigation arenas should get personally involved so that the recommendations of the Committee see the light of day and not end up in the wastepaper basket.
The Internet and Intellectual Property – A Review of the February 9th Dinner Meeting
Students and stagiaires buoyed the crowd on February 9th, as Me David Collier, Bâtonnier of the Bar of Montreal, engaged the Society with a fascinating speech entitled Intellectual Property Implications in Respect of the Internet. On the occasion of the Society’s annual student dinner, the topic was very well received by everyone. Credit must be given to the Society’s Young Bar liaisons, Mara Greenstone and Heather Michelin, for their enthusiasm and ability in helping make the evening a success.
Me Collier was ably introduced by Allen Mendelsohn, who highlighted his long service to the Bars of Montreal and Québec. By way of introduction, Mr. Mendelsohn recounted his own experiences in downloading copyright material from the Internet, and jokingly wondered aloud how much trouble he was in.
Me Collier began to answer the question by specifying the importance of copyright law on the Internet, as the Internet has made it easy for massive copying and distribution of copyrighted materials. He described the competing interest of distribution and copyright protection, and how these are magnified on the Web.
His talk included a nice recap of the general tenets of copyright law, including the notion of copyright protecting the expression of ideas. He then turned to the technical details of the Internet, providing good background on how it works and the different ways files are distributed.
He then talked about the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the so-called “SOCAN 22” case. The basic holding is that Internet Service Providers are not liable for what their users do. Furthermore, it established that there is an extra-territorial jurisdiction to Canadian copyright law, as long as there is a real and substantial connection.
Me Collier then examined some other cases including the key American decisions where holders of copyrights such as movie studios and record labels fought it out with people sharing files on the net. He tied this in to the notion of private copying of copyrighted materials, and how blank media is now taxed in Canada to compensate the copyright holders. He also discussed the worldwide efforts to curb copyright violations in this area. He concluded by saying that the net has brought the competing rights of creators and users to the fore.
An excellent Q &A followed which touched on a number of topics including open source software, the collective approach, and artists vs. record companies. The successful student dinner concluded as Mara Greenstone did a nice job thanking Me Collier. With the number of young people in attendance on this night, it looks like the future of the Society is good hands.
June 7 – Annual Hon. Henry Steinberg Memorial Lecture
Guest: Hon. John Gomery, J.S.C.
“The Pros and Cons of Enquiry Commissions”
How Fortunate We Are
Those of you who attended the Society’s February 9th dinner may have met Me David Halbwax and his wife Miriam, who attended as guests of the LRLS. Me Halbwax, a member of the Bars of Brussels and Paris, left France with his young family roughly 5 months ago to escape the increasingly anti-semitic environment that we have all read so much about. Me Halbwax fully intends to practice law in Quebec but cannot write his equivalency exam until January 2007. In the meantime, he is seeking the opportunity to work in a law firm in whatever capacity he can in order to familiarize himself with our system. Me Halbwax has prepared the following letter describing his situation, which I urge you to read. This courageous young man could use a little help from his confrères and his consoeurs in establishing himself here in Montreal.
Montréal, le 25 mars 2006
Il y a maintenant près de 5 mois que je suis établi avec ma famille à Montréal. Mon épouse Myriam et moi-même avons pris la décision de quitter la France pour immigrer au Canada eu égard à la situation qui ne cesse de se détériorer sur place.
Il faut dire que depuis 2000, la société française a connu de profonds changements qui affectent durablement la communauté juive et ses membres.
Dans un communiqué officiel du 9 mars 2006, le Comité Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF) s’adressait en ces termes :
Le CRIF tient à partager avec l’ensemble de nos concitoyens son inquiétude sur l’avenir de notre pays.
Nous avions noté avec soulagement la baisse des actes antisémites en 2005. Mais les premières statistiques de 2006 font apparaître une nouvelle hausse, cruellement illustrée par l’assassinat horrible du jeune Ilan Halimi, et les violences anti-juives répétées de ces derniers jours à Sarcelles et à Lyon.
Dans des zones de non-droit, des bandes de voyous racistes et antisémites sèment la terreur. Dans de nombreuses banlieues et bien souvent au cœur des villes, les citoyens juifs ont peur de circuler et les parents juifs s’inquiètent pour leurs enfants.
Malgré les moyens considérables déployés, notamment par la police, l’escalade se poursuit.
En pareilles circonstances, il nous fallait absolument préserver l’avenir de notre fille Shiraz.
Cette situation nous a contraint à quitter notre famille et nos amis restés sur place et à fermer mon cabinet après 8ans d’exercice aux barreaux de Bruxelles et de Paris et à cesser mes enseignements à l’université.
Maintenant, il me faut affronter de nouveaux défis pour pouvoir exercer au sein du Barreau du Québec notamment en préparant les examens de transfert et en recherchant un cabinet d’avocats au sein duquel je pourrais mettre à profit mes compétences.
Pour y parvenir, j’ai entamé de nombreuses démarches afin d’intégrer le milieu professionnel des avocats.
Or j’ai pu constater que seul et faute d’être connu, il est quasiment impossible de faire valoir sa position auprès des cabinets d’avocats.
Cet isolement est très embarrassant et pèse lourdement sur l’ensemble de ma famille.
C’est pourquoi mes chers collègues, je me tourne vers vous et vous remercie d’avance de l’intérêt que vous porterez à la présente.
Je reste à votre entière disposition pour tout renseignement que vous souhaiteriez obtenir au sujet de mes compétences.
Tel : (514) 738-2480
Email : email@example.com
NEWS FROM THE MISHPAUCHAH
The Lord Reading Law Society would like to extend its sincerest thanks to:
- Ogilvy Renault for their generous support of the February 9 meeting.
- Heenan Blaikie and Kugler Kandestin for their generous support of the April 4 meeting
The Society expresses its best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to the Honourable Michel Proulx.