TORONTO — A prominent lawyer ordered to pay the costs of a client’s legal fight says Canada’s highest court has undermined the duty of advocates to pursue their clients’ interests vigorously.

The refusal this week by the Supreme Court of Canada to hear his appeal, Paul Slansky said, runs counter to its own findings that lawyers must act diligently and without fear.

“How can you be committed to their cause when at the same time you will be punished if, at the end, you lose,” Slansky said in an interview. “That creates a significant chilling effect on lawyers who are representing their clients.”

In June last year, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld an $84,000 costs award against Slansky, saying he had wasted money unnecessarily by “acting on unreasonable instructions from, or providing unreasonable advice to, his client.” The court also ordered him to pay $30,000 more for the costs of his failed appeal.

Slansky sought to appeal to the Supreme Court, which refused on Thursday to hear the case, and also ordered him to pay the costs of the failed application.


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Cry me a river. In too many instances (even one is too many when people come asking for help and end up getting shafted) lawyers come across as fighting first and foremost for themselves. The primary goal a bigger and bigger paycheque. Occasionally some of them cross an ethical or some other professional or even legal line and get taken to task. On the topic of the ‘legal profession’ – Imagine the hue and cry if for example this many members of any other profession/organization such as police officers, a charity etc. were accused of corruption and other nefarious conduct.… Read more »