NEWSLETTER – October 2008
Ronald H. Levy, President
Allen Mendelsohn & Dorith Toledano, Editor(s)
Message from the President
Ronald H. Levy
September has been an auspicious month for the Society.
At the Rentrée judiciaire on September 4th, the Bar of Montreal bestowed its medal on the Society. At that time, I had the occasion to raise various important issues with those assembled and a copy of my remarks is included elsewhere in this newsletter.
On September 18th, under the chairmanship of our Past President, Ian Solloway, the Society held its 60th Anniversary Gala Evening. Our keynote speaker was Mr. Justice Morris Fish of the Supreme Court of Canada, all Chief Justices of the Province attended, along with many other dignitaries.
The overflow evening, organized to perfection by Ian and his organizing committee, was extremely successful and a wonderful evening.
Under the chairmanship of David Stolow, the Program Committee has almost completed the year’s lecture series. Already planned are lectures by Mr. Justice Jean-Louis Baudouin, on October 27th, whose talk is “Before I step down: Reflections from the bench,” a lecture by Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of U.N. on December 4th, and a lecture by Lieutenant Commander Kuebler, Omar Khadr’s defence lawyer, scheduled for February 4th, 2009.
May the Society go from strength to strength to a 120!
Best wishes for a sweet and healthy New Year!
Ronald H. Levy
The Society Awarded la Médaille du Barreau de Montréal
In conjunction with its 60th Anniversary celebrations, The Lord Reading Law Society was awarded la médaille du Barreau de Montréal during the rentrée judiciaire on September 4th. The Society was awarded the Medal for its “remarkable contribution to the cause of justice.” You can see the certificate remitted the Society along with the Medal.
We are pleased to reproduce the remarks made by Society President Ronald Levy during the event:
Messieurs les Juges en chef, Messieurs les Bâtonnier du Québec et de Montréal, Honorables Juges et chers amis,
L’Association de droit Lord Reading est extrêmement fière et reconnaissante de l’honneur que le Barreau de Montréal lui fait par la remise de la médaille du Barreau de Montréal.
L’Association de droit Lord Reading a vu le jour en 1948 alors qu’à cette époque, il régnait des sentiments d’antisémitisme.
Elle a été créée dans le but de promouvoir la justice sociale pour tous et dans l’espoir de redresser la pénurie de nomination judiciaire parmi les avocates et avocats juifs.
On peut même dire que L’Association de droit Lord Reading a été créée pour mettre en œuvre le dictum du grand Rabbin Hillel né en Babylonie il y a plus de deux mille ans, soit :
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
Si je ne suis pour moi-même, qui le sera pour moi?
If I am not for others, what am I?
Si je ne vise pas les autres, qui suis-je?
If not now – when?
Si pas maintenant – quand?
True to this heritage, important legal precedence involving members of the Society come to mind:
Roncorelli vs. Duplessis…. pleaded by A.L. Stein along with F.R. Scott
La Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys and A. Gourbag Singh Multani concerning the wearing of the kirpan,….. pleaded by Julius Grey… are but a few.
Créée pour remettre les pendules à l’heure, le travail de L’Association n’est toutefois pas terminé.
Le nombre des juges choisis parmi les avocates et avocats de confession juive, lesquels sont principalement des anglophones extrêmement bilingues, n’approche aucunement la proportion des avocates et avocats du district et la situation ne s’améliore malheureusement pas.
De plus, les incidents antisémites et les sentiments anti-juifs persistent dans la société. Il est de notre ressort de surveiller, d’être vigilant et d’agir. After all. If not now….When ?
Les membres de Lord Reading sont très fiers d’être des avocats québécois et canadiens et nous nous engageons à continuer, par le biais de L’Association de droit Lord Reading, à respecter l’adage biblique
ZEDEK, ZEDEK TIRDOF
qui se traduit par “Justice, justice vous poursuivrez!”
Lord Reading’s 60th Gala a Huge Success
A sold out crowd packed the Montefiore Club on September 18th to celebrate the Society’s 60th Anniversary. Dignitaries, thirty of thirty-three living Past Presidents and two roomfuls of Society members all celebrated the event with style and class, looking forward to the next 60 years!
Even prior to the evening, it appeared that just making it to 60 years was a success. This was reflected in congratulatory letters received from the highest levels of power, including The Prime Minster, The Premier of Québec, and the Federal Minister of Justice.
The evening began with a cocktail where members fo the Society toasted their history and planned for the future. A montage of photographs from the Society’s past and thanks to all the evening’s sponsors played on two giant screens. You can see those montages on our 60th Anniversary Page.
Settling in to the main hall, the members and guests were treated to some very nice words by Society President Ron Levy by means of introduction. Past President Ian Solloway, Chair of the 60th anniversary committee, introduced all the dignitaries present and spoke eloquently about the Society’s history and its place in the history of the Quebec legal community. His full remarks can be found further below in this newsletter. Immediate Past President Mark Schrager then took to the podium to thank the sponsors and introduce the Society’s new website, which the sponsors helped make possible. You’re looking at the fruits of Mark’s labour right now!
Our special guest for the evening was Justice Morris Fish, warmly introduced by Harvey Yarosky, who complimented Justice Fish’s “particular ability to turn a phrase.” Once the guest of honour took to the podium, he remarked immediately how he felt “very much at home.”
Justice Fish traced the changes in the law and the legal practice over the last 60 years, highlighted by numerous amusing stories about any number of topics. He described the importance of the Society through the words of Hillel, notably “don’t separate from the community.” His talk was warmly received by everyone in attendance.
Justice Fish was thanked by Ron Levy who presented him with a plaque commemorating the event. Ron then presented a plaque to Ian Solloway in recognition of all the hard work he had done as Chair of 60th anniversary celebrations.
All in all, a truly remarkable evening that few in the audience will ever forget.
Remarks on the Occasion of the Society’s 60th Anniversary Gala
Monsieur le Juge en Chef du Québec, Messieurs les Juges en Chefs, Mesdames et Messieurs les Juges de toutes juridictions, invitées d’honneurs, collègues, chers amis. Bienvenue, Good evening and “Bruchim Habaim”.
As chair of the 60th Anniversary of The Lord Reading Law Society, it is an honour to be standing before all of you tonight on this most special occasion in the history of this great Society and to welcome you to our 60th Anniversary.
For the rest of Ian’s remarks, please click here.
Review of the Closing Dinner-Meeting of the 2007-2008 Season
At its last dinner meeting for the 2007-2008 year on June 18th, the LRLS was honoured indeed to have as its guest speaker, one of Canada’s leading barristers, Mr. Edward Greenspan, Q.C. Mr. Greenspan’s topic was “A Stranger in a Surprisingly Strange Land: the Conrad Black Trial.”
Mr. Greenspan was introduced by Me Raphael Schachter, Q.C., who commented that in the realm of basketball, there is Michael Jordan and everyone else, and that the same applies to Mr. Greenspan when it comes to criminal law.
Mr. Greenspan commenced his address on a note of levity, mentioning that he was once mistaken for his famous client, Mr. Conrad Black.
Mr. Greenspan then described his experience in Chicago over a four-month period during the Conrad Black trial. He first noted a seating arrangement, where in contrast to Canada, the prosecution attorneys have a front row seat facing the jury, whereas the defence attorneys are “second class citizens” as it were, seated behind the prosecution attorneys.
Unlike the system in Canada, the defence attorneys are not advised in advance as to the order of witnesses to be called by the prosecution. Defence counsel only receives summaries of witness statements, which are neither signed nor sworn. In the United States, for all intents and purposes, the preliminary inquiry mechanism is replaced by that of the Grand Jury. Little material is provided before trial.
Generally, the system of disclosure is very poor and the prosecution withholds evidence as long as possible.
The common law rules of evidence as laid down in such prominent authors as Wigmore, have been totally supplanted in the United States by what is called the “Federal Rules of Evidence.”
Objections are dealt with in a rather bizarre manner as compared to Canada. While in Canada, the attorney objecting must state the basis for the objection, and then opposing counsel have an opportunity to respond before a Judge rules on the objection, in the United States, it appears that the prosecutor can often object without stating the grounds and that the Judge often immediately rules on the objection without giving the attorney for the defence an opportunity to respond.
Likewise, cross-examination is designed in such a way as to elicit only yes or no answers, but no further commentary.
Mr. Greenspan also contrasted the ethical standards of the prosecutors in Canada as compared to the United States. His view was that in the Conrad Black trial, the notion of the pursuit of justice is entirely trumped by seeking victory at all costs. Mr. Greenspan referred to the use by the prosecution in the Conrad Black trial of the RICO Act which facilitates seizures, harsher penalties, not to mention the demands for exorbitant bail.
Finally, Mr. Greenspan contrasted the harsh sentence imposed upon Mr. Black taking into account the relatively minor amount of money involved in the fraud for which he was convicted, as compared to huge sums involved in such convictions as the Enron case, etc.
A most insightful comparison of the Canadian and American criminal justice systems was provided by Mr. Greenspan followed by a question and answer session. The evening also included nice words by both the incoming President Ron Levy and outgoing President Mark Schrager.
News from the Mishpauchah
Lawrence Caplovitch, Irving Finkelberg, Harold Gossack, and Laddie Schnaiberg , Q.C. on their celebrating 50 years of admission to the Bar
All our sponsors of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations. The full list can be viewed on our 60th Anniversary page.
- The family of Carol Steinfeld
- Jeffrey Boro on the passing of his mother Mildred
- Brandon Wiener on the passing of his father Daniel