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Tag: IAP

Court Prohibits Lawyer From All 'Current or Future Representation of Claimants in the IAP'

In a rare judicial intervention into a lawyer’s practice, reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, stripping a lawyer from all of his cases relating to the residential school Independent Assessment Process class action settlement.  The Court determined it had jurisdiction to make such an order pursuant to section 12 of BC’s Class Proceedings Act.
In yesterday’s case (Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General)) lawyer David Blott was on record ‘for approximately 2,900 (IAP) claimants‘.  ‘Concerns‘ were raised with respect to this lawyer’s practice.  These led to an investigation of the lawyers practice resulting in a final report with various troubling findings (these are highlighted at paragraphs 17 and 18 of the reasons for judgement).
An application was made seeking significant judicial intervention including an order stripping the lawyer of all of his IAP files.  In granting this extraordinary relief, Madam Justice Brown provided, amongst other criticism, the following comments:

[167] The conclusion of the LSA panel regarding Mr. Blott’s conduct bears repeating:

But after considering all of the evidence in this matter and hearing Mr. Blott, we continue to be concerned that Mr. Blott does not appear to understand what it means to be a lawyer.  We are concerned that Mr. Blott appears not to recognize that his primary role is as a fiduciary and everything else is secondary.

[168] I share the LSA’s concern that Mr. Blott does not understand what it means to be a lawyer.  Further, while I also understand the desire to avoid additional victimization of the members of an already-vulnerable class, a more lasting remedy than the interim measure implemented by the LSA is required.  The process approved by the LSA, and advanced by Mr. Blott on this application, would see at least 1,500 clients moved from the Blott firm to other lawyers in any event.  Viewed in that light, the issue is not whether disruption will be experienced by Blott clients, but rather the number of clients who will experience it.

[169] It would be far better to have this client transfer process conducted under the supervision of the court and it is necessary for the integrity of the process and the protection of the clients that it be a complete transfer.  Therefore, I will accept and implement the Monitor’s recommendation in respect of the removal of David Blott, David Blott Professional Corporation, Blott & Company, and any associated entity from the current or future representation of claimants in the IAP or any other process embodied in the settlement.