SMR lawyers Jennifer Millerd and Maya O. Ollek represented the Law Society of British Columbia (the “Law Society”) as respondent in an appeal in the British Columbia Court of Appeal, McLeod v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2022 BCCA 280.
The appellant, a member of the Law Society (the “Member”), was found guilty by a Hearing Panel of the Law Society of multiple counts of professional misconduct for failing to discharge his professional obligations to both the court and to opposing counsel, arising from his conduct during and after a summary trial. The Member appealed. The Law Society filed a cross-appeal. The Decision of the Hearing Panel on Facts and Determination under appeal is available here.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal by the Member in substance, finding in favour of the Law Society. It held that the appellant Member had failed to establish any errors in the hearing panel’s findings that he failed to correct the record at the summary trial hearing, thus effectively misstating facts by omission, and that he brought an action in civil contempt against opposing counsel and her client in bad faith. The Court of Appeal allowed the Member’s appeal with respect to one element, finding that the Hearing Panel made a palpable and overriding error when it found that the Member’s bringing of a recusal application constituted professional misconduct.
The Law Society also prevailed in a cross-appeal it advanced concerning the Hearing Panel’s application of the Kienapple principle which prevents against multiple convictions for the same delict (offense or criminal wrong). The Court of Appeal found that the Hearing Panel committed an error in law in declining to find that the Member committed a second breach of Rule 2.2-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct in bringing an action for civil contempt against opposing counsel personally, in addition to bringing an action in civil contempt against her client.