After two years, a much enhanced Tribunal

Posted: 10/30/2015

Law Society Tribunal Chair David A. Wright

Law Society Tribunal Chair David A. Wright

The Law Society Tribunal’s move to a new home represents just the latest in a series of reforms designed to improve the hearings process that lies at the core of the Law Society’s legislated obligation to protect the public interest.

Since David A. Wright was appointed as the first independent Chair of the Law Society Tribunal in June of 2013, he has steadily implemented the recommendations outlined by the 2012 Tribunals Committee Hearings Process Report, building a unique and independent adjudicative tribunal within the self-governance model of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

He has given the Law Society Tribunal a distinct identity with its own website, as well as improved public access to information about scheduled =hearings and the orders and reasons of the Tribunal.

He has also implemented a number of other features common to Ontario administrative tribunals, including merit-based competitive appointment processes for new appointee adjudicators, and significant enhancements to the training and professional development of adjudicators.

Merit-based appointments of appointed adjudicators, in particular, has led to the recruitment of public, paralegal and lawyer appointees with significant adjudicative experience, including the Honourable Stephen Goudge, formerly a Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The addition of these new members strengthens the Tribunal’s ability to conduct French language hearings and increases the diversity of expertise and experience among Tribunal members.

Other reforms include improvements to prehearing case management to help parties narrow issues and shorten hearings. Now most hearings go through the prehearing process.

As well, David leads Chair’s Practice Roundtable sessions that reach out to both sides of the bar, licensee representatives and Law Society representatives, and duty counsel with the opportunity for open discussions on how best to improve tribunal processes and a forum to receive stakeholder feedback.