Victory in principle: Citizen takes on Quebec Bar

Quebec Superior Court rules partly in favour of Dolia Ivanov after 20 years of legal proceedings.

MONTREAL, Sept. 22, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Mrs. Dolia Ivanov presented the decision today at the Montreal Courthouse from her case against the Quebec Bar, which had been ongoing for several years, accusing the Bar of negligence.

The Superior Court has found the Quebec Bar to have been negligent in its processing of Mrs. Ivanov's case against a lawyer; the case went on for 20 years before the Bar took any disciplinary action against this lawyer.

Mrs. Ivanov's pursuit against the Quebec Bar was supported by claims in three principal elements: lack of timely intervention, allowing the lawyer, André Simard of Guy Gilbert Law Firm and founder of the law firm Gilbert, Simard, Tremblay to proceed despite a conflict of interest, followed by, a lack of appropriate follow-up in violation of laws that apply to professional orders, and finally; the Bar's non-compliance to its own mission primarily related to the protection of the public.

"This is an important victory: it recognizes that there was negligence on the part of the Bar," said Dolia Ivanov. She continued, "Such a lack of vigilance is unacceptable."

Despite this moral victory, the decision awarded no compensation, particularly due to a general immunity clause that protects professional orders, a point that she will appeal. While her primary motivation for persisting in the proceedings was to ensure that others in her situation would not have to suffer the same consequences of such negligence, this arduous process became very costly. Furthermore, Mrs. Ivanov was impacted by a great deal of stress as her case was not treated with due diligence by the Bar.

"The Superior Court failed to recognize that this negligence on the Quebec Bar's part was a violation of the latter's mission to protect the public, and this should be examined in the appeal," added Mrs. Ivanov, confident that her rights will be recognized.

During these proceedings, Dolia Ivanov has tried to emphasize the difficulty of being heard and protected by the Quebec Bar, which has as its mission to defend the public, and to discipline the behaviour of its members that do not comply with its ethical rules.

ABOUT DOLIA IVANOV'S LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE QUEBEC BAR

In March of 1991, Dolia Ivanov filed a complaint with the Quebec Bar against her former lawyer, Mr. André Simard, for various reasons, including conflict of interest and abusive proceedings. This complaint was re-iterated several times during the subsequent years. As part of a civil judgment on these allegations, rendered on October 7, 2004, the Honourable Nicole Morneau finally found in favour of Mrs. Ivanov, awarding her a six-figure amount in damages to be paid by André Simard and Maurice Régnier. In May of 2006, the case was settled out of court before the defendants' appeal could be heard.

I was not until February of 2007, sixteen years after the complaint was filed that the Quebec Bar finally took disciplinary action against Mr. Simard. This long delay caused significant prejudices against Mrs. Ivanov. This represents the context in which the current case was undertaken, with a judgment given in September of 2011, more than 20 years after the case was first filed.

SOURCE Dolia Ivanov

For further information:

Anne Bilodeau
Cohn & Wolfe | Montréal
514-845-7030
anne.bilodeau@cohnwolfe.ca

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