Every so often, an outcry over the crisis in affordable court representation breaks out in the media, usually initiated by a judge’s pronouncements or a released report. For a few days, the newspapers publish screaming headlines and angry denouncements side by side with promises of reforms by concerned authorities. And then, just as quickly as the tumult arose, the issue becomes relegated to back pages and occasional editorials before fading into black.
The ice that had formed on the austere gray masonry of Osgoode Hall’s exterior walls in downtown Toronto on December 2, 2016 never got as cold as the reception Harry Kopyto received from the three judges ensconced on their elevated perch as they peered down in studied silence at Harry Kopyto as he argued his judicial review of the Law Society’s Appeal Panel. Recall that the Law Society Appeal Panel confirmed the decision of the Law Society Hearing Panel, led by Margot Blight, that had refused to allow Harry the right to work as a legal advocate after 41 years of doing so because of his alleged poor character. Why, you ask, such frosty treatment from these supposed judicial guardians of procedural fairness? Read the rest of this entry »
Harry Kopyto will be appearing before three judges in the Divisional Court at 10:00 a.m. in courtroom 3 at Osgoode Hall (northeast corner of University Ave. and Queen St. W. in Toronto) on Friday December 2, 2016.
Kopyto has been shafted by a Law Society Panel that refused him the right to work as a paralegal after 25 years of doing so on the basis of his allegedly “poor” character. The Chair of the Panel has refused to resign despite the fact that she was the lawyer for the employer in a legal action for discrimination in the workplace brought by a key character witness that Harry called to testify at his hearing.
Your presence at this hearing is critical in order to ensure that Harry gets a fair hearing.
From time to time, the Divisional Court has been known to restrain the Law Society from its more abusive and clearly biased decisions. Harry’s case may be one of those instances in which the Divisional Court may be won over to his side. However, it will not happen unless members of the public attend the hearing to ensure that the three judges of the Divisional Court make a just decision.
Harry has fought for us for decades. Now is the time for us to be there for him.
When Harry steps into the Divisional Court at Osgoode Hall in downtown Toronto at 10:00 a.m. on Friday December 2, 2016, there will be two issues he will lay out before the three venerable Judges. His professional fate will be determined by their response.
The first argument Harry will raise is that the Chair of the Law Society Panel that decided that he did not have the good character to work as a legal advocate, Margot Blight, appeared to be biased. How will he prove this? Read the rest of this entry »
In this post you’ll find the final installment of an adapted version of Harry Kopyto’s address to the three-person Law Society of Upper Canada Panel made on July 9, 2015. The Panel concluded that he lacked the good character needed to continue to work as a legal advocate. A serialized version of the balance of his submissions which continued on July 10, 2015 will be posted in due course.
The decision is presently under appeal in the Divisional Court of Ontario scheduled to be heard at Osgoode Hall on Friday December 2, 2016. See here for more details.
Why Do I Do What I Do?
Honourable members of the Panel, I ask you to say, “Yes, Harry, you are imperfect. But Lewis, you were better off with Harry representing you. Velma, you were better off with Harry representing you.” Who was the fellow in the wheelchair who had testified thanking me for my help? Tell him also: “You were better off with Harry.”
Go through the entire list of my clients who appeared as witnesses. Twenty-two clients. Tell me which clients were not better off with me than without me. Did I succeed in every case? Does anybody succeed in every case? Did I wow the courts? Does everybody wow the courts? Is every case winnable? But win or lose, did I try?
Why do I do what I do? Why is my practice what it is? Why did I even go into law? I wasn’t one of those guys in law school wearing a school tie from the University of Western Ontario whose father was an insurance company or bank executive and who knew everybody in his law school classroom since they graduated with their Masters of Business Administration degrees after going to the same private schools. I was the little guy off in a corner. I was the one who didn’t quite know what I was doing there…
My Practice Is a Weapon For Social Change
But I had an idea. Read the rest of this entry »
The Divisional Court has just set December 2, 2016 as the hearing date for Harry’s appeal from the decision of the Law Society Appeal Tribunal refusing to allow him to work as a legal advocate. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. at Osgoode Hall on the northeast corner of Queen Street and University Avenue in Toronto. Mark this date in your calendar. All those who value affordable access to justice should mobilize for this hearing to support Harry. More details to follow.
Harry Kopyto Defence Committee
Below is the second last installation of an adapted version of the submissions made by Harry Kopyto on July 9, 2015 before to the Law Society Hearing Panel chaired by Margot Blight which ruled that Harry Kopyto lacked the good character needed to practice as a legal advocate.
Harry has appealed her decision, which was upheld by a Law Society Appeal Panel, to the Divisional Court of Ontario. A date for the hearing of Harry’s appeal should be available shortly.
The challenge before you Read the rest of this entry »