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.