Transactions & Cases Detail
Challenge to mandatory continuing professional development goes to Supreme Court of Canada
November 30, 2016
McCarthy Tétrault is representing the Federation of Law Societies (FLSC) as intervener before the Supreme Court of Canada in a decision that will decide whether the Law Society of Manitoba (the Law Society) can legally require licensed lawyers to participate in mandatory continuing professional development (CPD).
The matter relates to a Winnipeg lawyer, Sidney Green who has practiced for over sixty years and was served a suspension notice for failing to satisfy the Law Society's requirements for minimum CPD. He argued that the Manitoba Legal Profession Act does not explicitly permit the Law Society to enact mandatory CPD rules and enforce those rules with the imposition of a suspension. He also argued that the rules violated the principles of natural justice by failing to afford him a right of hearing or appeal upon the imposition of the suspension. Both the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba and the Court of Appeal of Manitoba disagreed, holding that the Law Society has the power to make CPD compulsory in order to be a practicing member. This includes the power to suspend a member for failing to meet the requirement.
The case was argued before the Supreme Court of Canada in November, 2016 and is currently under reserve.
McCarthy Tétrault advises the Federation of Law Societies with a team led by Neil Finkelstein and includes Brandon Kain.