- Greg DelBigio, Q.C. Joins Thorsteinssons LLP
In July 2012, Mr. DelBigio joined leading tax firm Thorsteinssons LLP as Counsel in that firm’s tax litigation group. Mr. DelBigio will be offering clients his significant expertise in cases involving tax evasion, search and seizure and constitutional defences.
Mr. DelBigio will continue to service ongoing clients and offer criminal defence services for other criminal law matters through his law corporation, Gregory P. DelBigio, Q.C. Barrister & Solicitor.
- Air India Inquiry report and recommendations released. Greg DelBigio acted as pro bono co-counsel for the Canadian Bar Association in it’s intervention at the Inquiry.
As recently reported by the Canadian Bar Association, the Air India Inquiry final report, released on June 17, made a number of recommendations that were consistent with proposals made by the CBA in its intervention at the Inquiry. The report singled out the CBA’s submissions on the relationship between intelligence and evidence and the challenges of terrorism prosecution. As recommended by the CBA, the Inquiry said that CSIS should conform to the requirements of laws relating to evidence and disclosure when conducting its counterterrorism investigations to facilitate the use of intelligence in the criminal justice process. The Inquiry also followed the CBA’s suggestion that special advocates be used in proceedings under s.38.01 of the Canada Evidence Act, in which the Attorney General of Canada is able to make applications to keep evidence secret in civil and criminal proceedings, to protect the interests of the individuals involved. Lorne Waldman and Greg DelBigio act as co-counsel for the CBA intervention on a pro bono basis.
Read the full report: Air India Report.
- Vancouver criminal lawyer, Gregory DelBigio represented the intervener Canadian Bar Association in R. v. Cunningham, 2010 SCC 10, a Supreme Court of Canada decision holding that criminal courts can order lawyers to work for free to prevent serious harm to the administration of justice.
“Court can order lawyers to work for free,”* April 9, 2010, Lawyers Weekly. View the article.
In this case a criminal defence lawyer (Cunningham) was employed by Yukon Legal Aid to represent an accused charged with sexual offences against a young child. The accused failed to update his financial information as required by Legal Aid to maintain his legal aid certificate and his funding was suspended. Legal Aid told the accused that Cunningham was no longer authorized to represent him and Cunningham brought an application to the court to withdraw as counsel of record due to the suspended funding (indicating she would continue if funding were reinstated). The Territorial Court refused her application and the matter wound its way up to the Supreme Court of Canada which held that the Territorial court had the jurisdiction to refuse to grant a request to withdraw and had the authority to require counsel to continue to represent an accused when the reason for withdrawal was non-payment of fees.
As noted in a recent Lawyers Weekly article, “Court can order lawyers to work for free.”* the high court held that “lawyers representing an accused do not have an unfettered right to drop a case already scheduled for a hearing – at short notice to the court and the Crown- simply because their clients can’t, or won’t pay them.” While the decision means that courts can refuse applications from lawyers to withdraw as counsel on the grounds of non-payment of fees the high court was careful to stress that this power “should be exercised exceedingly sparingly” and “only when necessary to prevent serious harm to the administration of justice.” The court also noted that, “Ordering counsel to work for free is not a decision that should be made lightly,” and further “Though criminal defence counsel may be in the best position to assess the financial risk…only in the most serious circumstances should counsel alone be required to bear this financial burden. In general, access to justice should not fall solely on the shoulders of the criminal defence Bar and, in particular legal aid lawyers.”
Vancouver criminal lawyer Gregory DelBigio, counsel for the intervener Canadian Bar Association, underscored these provisos as key to the impact of the decision. As quoted in the Lawyers Weekly, Mr. DelBigio remarked: “The vast majority of Canadian lawyers conduct themselves in accordance with the highest ethical standards and it is not anticipated that the decision will result in any significant changes in the way which lawyers practice,” and further “However, lawyers will now need to ensure that fee-related issues that interfere with a lawyer’s willingness to continue to act as counsel are brought to the court’s attention in a timely manner.”
*The article originally appeared in the April 9, 2010 issue of The Lawyers Weekly published by LexisNexis Canada Inc. – View article
Read R. v. Cunningham.
- Greg DelBigio, chair of the CBA’s national criminal justice section, argued for publicly-funded counsel for individuals targeted under the anti-terror bill.
This article originally appeared in the Feb. 15, 2008 issue of The Lawyers Weekly published by LexisNexis Canada Inc. – View article
- BC Civil Liberties Association celebrates landmark decision on security certificates
The Supreme Court of Canada has set constitutional limits on the power of the federal government to rely on secret evidence to support deportation orders issued on the basis that a non-citizen posed a threat to national security. Click here to read the security certificate decisions.
- The Lawyers Weekly Commentary: Greg DelBigio comments on compliance with money laundering legislation.
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 10, 2006, issue of The Lawyers Weekly published by LexisNexis Canada Inc. – View article
- House of Commons Justice Committee conducts Year 3 review of controversial provisions of the Criminal Code (ss. 25.1-25.4)
On Feb 1, 2002, Bill C-24, the law enforcement justification provisions (ss. 25.1-25.4 of the Criminal Code) were proclaimed. These sections permit police and their agents to break the law during the course of a criminal investigation under conditions specified in those sections. The Canadian Bar Association’s submission to the Justice Committee reiterated concerns the CBA raised five years ago when C-24 was up for debate before Parliament. The primary concern being that this type of “ends justifies the means” measures are open to abuse. Specifically the provisions have a significant potential to undermine the integrity of the administration of justice because they function to excuse intentional violations of the law by agents of the state when they are involved in a criminal investigation. Click here for an article on the subject that appeared in the Law Times in late June.
- New sentencing Bills (C-9 and C-10) are working their way through Parliament
Work on Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Conditional Sentence of Imprisonment), and Bill C-10, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Minimum Penalties for Offences Involving Fire Arms), will recommence after the Parliamentary summer recess.
Click here for progress and the Legislative Summary of Bill C-9
Click here for progress and the Legislative Summary of Bill C-10
- Supreme Court of Canada reserves on the constitutional validity of security certificates
Greg DelBigio represented the Intervenor, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in the cases of Charkaoui v. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and The Solicitor General of Canada, Almrei v. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and The Solicitor General of Canada, and, Harkat v. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and The Solicitor General of Canada. These cases considered the constitutional validity of security certificates and were the second time that the Supreme Court of Canada has considered legislative provisions in relation to anti-terrorist laws.
Greg was also counsel for the Intervenor, the Canadian Bar Association, in Application under s. 83.28 of the Criminal Code (Re), 2004 SCC 42, the first case where the Supreme Court had the opportunity to consider the constitutional validity of a section of the Criminal Code dealing with anti-terrorism powers. Click here to read the decision.