Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Canadian Conflicts News

Supreme Court of Canada to examine boundaries of ‘conflict of interest’ --
  • The case, Canadian National Railway v. McKercher LLP, affects a wide range of clients — from large companies who must rely on the limited number of major firms in Canada’s legal market for representation in significant transactions and litigation, to consumers from rural and remote areas that are served by only a few lawyers."
  • "The case before the Supreme Court originated in 2008, when McKercher LLP, one of Saskatchewan’s top law firms, took on a proposed class action brought on behalf of a group of prairie farmers. The claim alleged that the Canadian National Railway and others overcharged the class for grain transportation for over 25 years. At the time, McKercher was acting for the railway in other matters, but subsequently withdrew from these cases. CN sought to disqualify McKercher from acting on the class action law suit."
  • "'It boils down to whether there is a categorical prohibition preventing lawyers from acting against clients in unrelated matters even where there is no risk of prejudice to the former clients, or whether the prohibition is merely a presumption that requires the lawyers to establish that no substantial risk of prejudice exists,' says Scott Joliffe, the Toronto-based chair and chief executive of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP."

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