The Law Society Tribunal is an independent adjudicative tribunal within the Law Society of Upper Canada. Panel members include staff and appointed adjudicators. The Tribunal processes, hears and decides regulatory cases about Ontario lawyers and paralegals, in the public interest. Paralegals can be Tribunal members and may represent clients there, as well as be subject to the process. Recent cases include:
Jose Fernando Garcia Machado, a Cambridge paralegal, has been suspended on an interim interlocutory basis, beginning July 3. The Hearing Division ordered Machado’s suspension under s. 49.27 of the Law Society Act. A peremptory hearing date is set for Aug. 26.
Saba Mafi, a Toronto paralegal, has been suspended by the Law Society for three months. A hearing panel found that Mafi had failed to: serve a client; respond to Law Society communication; and failed to notify the Law Society of changes to her business contact information. The suspension is to begin at the end of an administrative suspension and continue indefinitely until she has provided contact information to the Law Society. She is also to pay of costs of about $4,600.
Paul Louis Pauze, of Penetanguishene, has been suspended for three months, after a Hearing Division Panel found that he had engaged in conduct unbecoming. The issue was related to misleading correspondence that had been sent to the Trustee in Bankruptcy and a private mortgage transaction. Pauze was also ordered to pay $8,500 in costs. The panel noted that “The primary objectives of this penalty are general and specific deterrence and maintaining confidence in the honesty of every paralegal.”
Mississauga paralegal Carl David Sokolowski has been suspended for one month. The suspension is to start at the conclusion of his current administrative suspension and continuing indefinitely until he provides a complete response to information requests from the Law Society, related to a complaint. Sokolowski also faces a fine of $2,000 fine and a $4,000 costs award. Law Society of Upper Canada v Sokolowski, 2015 ONLSTH 74 (CanLII)
Robert George Vanderploeg, of Hamilton, has been suspended for two months, starting when his current administrative and discipline suspensions have ended. A Law Society Tribunal found that Vanderploeg had engaged in professional misconduct during a Law Society investigation. The paralegal’s licence suspension will continue until the LSUC’s information requests have been met. Failing to do so by Sept. 25 will result in a $4,000 fine. Vanderploeg has also been ordered to pay $2,000 in Tribunal costs.
Jason Andrew Webster-Clarke has been suspended for one month commencing at the end of his current administrative suspension and continuing indefinitely until he has responded to requests from the Law Society. The paralegal was found to have engaged in professional misconduct for: failing to reply to communications from the Law Society; failing to reply to requests for information regarding the disposition of his practice; failing to co-operate with a Law Society investigation; and failing to notify the Law Society of changes to his contact information. He was fined $2,000.
The costs decision has been released in the matter of John Charles West’s failed application for a paralegal licence. The case had begun in 2010. West v Law Society of Upper Canada, 2015 ONLSTA 17 (CanLII)