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The Friday Brief

The Friday Brief: Managing Editor’s must-read items from this week

Friday, March 01, 2019 @ 1:46 PM | By Matthew Grace

Matthew Grace %>
Matthew Grace
Here are my picks for the top stories we published this week.
Ex-AG alleges PM, senior officials tried to ‘politically interfere’ in SNC case; Trudeau ‘completely disagrees’
In an accusation strenuously denied by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Jody Wilson-Raybould alleged that before he removed her as attorney general of Canada last month, she and her then-chief of staff experienced sustained “very inappropriate” political interference and escalating “extraordinary” pressure from senior government officials, including the prime minister and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, to reverse her decision last fall not to shelve the criminal bribery prosecution of Montreal-based construction giant SNC-Lavalin in favour of a negotiated deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).

SCC rules lawyers can be liable for client referrals that go bad
In a cautionary tale for lawyers who refer clients to other service providers, the Supreme Court of Canada has 8-1 dismissed the appeal of a Montreal lawyer and his firm from a judgment below which holds them liable for the full $6.8 million their client lost after they unwittingly referred her to a financial adviser who later turned out to be a fraudster running a Ponzi scheme.

Obstruct justice prosecution of PMO officials for ‘undue pressure’ on AG an uphill battle
A prime minister or his officials would not be obstructing justice simply because an attorney general believes their good-faith communications to him or her about public interest considerations in a criminal prosecution unduly pressured him or her to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with a company, some lawyers suggest.

Diversity needed some bencher candidates say, as debate over statement of principles continues
Lawyers have been divided on the Law Society of Ontario’s (LSO) statement of principles since it was first announced as part of the regulator’s annual reporting requirements in 2017 with opponents arguing it’s “compelled speech” and a “purity test.” The statement continues to be an issue in the current bencher election with some candidates campaigning to abolish the statement of principles and others maintaining that promoting diversity is essential.

Wilson-Raybould affair: A primer on ‘legalities’
In her column, Heather MacIvor writes: “If we want to make informed judgments about the meaning and importance of the Wilson-Raybould allegations, we need to understand the relevant legal principles — and not just the “Shawcross doctrine,” as enjoyable as it is to delve into the minutiae of the English common law.”

Matthew Grace is the Managing Editor of The Lawyer’s Daily.