TORONTO, April 25, 2017 /CNW/ - The Law Society of Upper Canada today concluded the ongoing conduct case involving Kenora-area lawyer Douglas Keshen. The resolution was arrived at by mutual agreement between the Law Society and Mr. Keshen, after the Law Society reassessed its case. The Law Society Tribunal agreed and accepted the parties' proposal.
The conduct matter arose from complaints about service and financial issues from individuals whom Mr. Keshen represented in their applications for compensation under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
"The case did not unfold as expected and the outcome of supervisory conditions was the only viable option," says Law Society Treasurer Paul Schabas. "Our experience with this particular case exposed serious systemic issues involving the Law Society's regulatory and hearing process in relation to Indigenous issues. We need to listen and learn from this, so that we can do better."
Mr. Keshen participated today in an Invitation to Attend (ITA) before the Tribunal hearing panel to receive corrective advice and guidance, so that past lapses and mistakes are not repeated. He will attend another ITA in Toronto in a few months, after he has had time to reflect further on his actions. He has also agreed to undergo a number of practice reviews and professional development requirements to ensure his practices meet the required standards.
As well, Mr. Keshen has agreed to participate in up to three circles funded by the Law Society, if the community leaders and Elders consider them valuable.
Going forward, the Law Society will be seeking ongoing engagement with Indigenous peoples to learn more about processes that they value and trust, so their expectations can be met.
"In the spirit of reconciliation, the Law Society is committed to doing better," says Law Society Treasurer Paul Schabas. "We are reviewing our processes in the coming days to reflect Indigenous laws and customs, so that we think and act differently, to ensure that justice can be served on these types of cases in the future."
The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a duty to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.
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SOURCE The Law Society of Upper Canada
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