Following in the footsteps of the Law Society of British Columbia, the Barreau du Québec is compelling all of its 23,000 practising lawyers to go back to school as of this month and complete no fewer than 30 hours of approved continuing legal education courses every two calendar years to remain in good standing.
Three years after Guy Pratte and Alexander De Zordo convened a meeting with the managing partners of Montreal’s top law firms and the chief justices of Quebec courts to discuss the necessity of adopting a pragmatic approach towards pro bono, the Barreau du Québec finally forged ahead and recently announced the creation of a new not-for-profit organization, making Quebec the fifth jurisdiction in Canada to adopt a coordinated approach to pro bono service delivery.
“We got the ball rolling,” De Zordo said humbly, a partner and regional chair of the Borden Ladner Gervais Pro Bono Committee in Montreal and member of the provisional board of directors of the new entity. “We found that the attribution of pro bono work was not as well structured in Quebec as in the other provinces. Everyone was in agreement.”
The Centre Pro Bono Québec is the latest initiative striving to improve access to justice to low-and modest-income individuals by facilitating and coordinating pro bono legal services. Driven by increased pro bono engagement in the profession, province-wide pro bono organizations first made its appearance in Ontario and British Columbia six years ago before the movement lost steam for a number of years. It once again gained momentum after the Pro Bono Law Alberta was established last year, a development emulated by Saskatchewan this summer, with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia expected to follow suit in the coming months.
At times, judges publicly muse over the challenges they face. In a discourse given a few years ago, Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Allan Hilton reflected on judges and lawyers grappling with the challenges emanating from Quebec’s unique cultural and linguistic make-up. Continue reading “A Quebec judge reflecting on challenges they face”
Rules of practice implemented by the Superior Court of Québec three years ago that prohibit media from using cameras and conducting interviews except in designated areas of the courthouse as well as ban the broadcast of recordings of hearings were recently upheld by the Québec Court of Appeal.