Focus On

CIVIL PROCEDURE - Party types - Representation of - By non-lawyer

Monday, April 15, 2019 @ 8:54 AM  

Application by the appellant company to be represented by K, its sole director, a lawyer in good standing in Israel but not a member of any law society in Canada. The appeal was from a receivership order after the company defaulted on various loans. The appeal was not filed within the time required by law. In 2006, during his family law proceedings, K consented to a vexatious litigant order against himself. K was unsuccessful in being allowed to be admitted as an articling student in Manitoba and to the professional legal education program. The disproportionate way K conducted his own personal litigation against the Law Society led to a successful application for security for costs against him in this Court. K was a previously discharged bankrupt. A company official advised that, if it was necessary for the company to be represented by a licenced lawyer, he could make those arrangements. K drafted and filed multiple pleadings, affidavits and legal briefs on behalf of the company, corresponded with counsel and gave advice to the company official.

HELD: Application dismissed. The Court was not satisfied that the company would be unduly prejudiced if K was refused the privilege of audience. The company official was a sophisticated businessperson using multiple legal entities, where friends or family members were the officers or directors, to take advantage, as his right, of the corporate veil. It would be a fiction to have access to justice concerns in this case, if K was not granted the privilege of audience to represent the company. K’s track record in the Manitoba courts was worrisome. While he professed the skill and experience to represent the company, the court was not convinced that was the case given the complexity of this proceeding. His involvement went well beyond modest assistance on an occasional basis. If K were granted audience to continue to represent the company, s. 20(2) of the Legal Profession Act would be contravened.

CWB Maxium Financial Inc. v. 6934235 Manitoba Ltd. (c.o.b. White Cross Pharmacy Wolseley), [2019] M.J. No. 73, Manitoba Court of Appeal, C.J. Mainella J.A., March 20, 2019. Digest No. TLD-April152019001