Timothy E. Leahy v. Minister of Justice
(Federal Court) (Civil) (By Leave)
Civil procedure - Appeals, Time, Law of professions, Discipline - Civil procedure — Appeal — Time — Law of professions – Discipline — Applicant’s motion for an extension of time to file his notice of appeal dismissed by Federal Court of Appeal —Whether denial of an uncontested extension of time to pursue an appeal was unreasonable and brought the administration of justice into disrepute — Whether applicant has been, and continues to be, authorized to appear as counsel of record in the Federal Courts of Canada.
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The applicant’s licence to practice law in Ontario was revoked on December 10, 2014, and has not been reinstated. Mr. Leahy maintained that he was entitled to practice as counsel of record in the Federal Courts. In 2017, three Federal Court proceedings in which Mr. Leahy purported to act as counsel were held in abeyance after the Department of Justice faxed a letter to the Federal Court, advising that Mr. Leahy had been disbarred, but appeared to be acting on behalf of litigants before the Federal Court. Mr. Leahy applied for judicial review of the communications between the Law Society of Ontario (“LSO”) and the Department of Justice. He sought an order barring the Department of Justice from seeking the interference of the LSO in pending litigation, an order requiring the Department of Justice to comply with the Federal Court Rules, SOR/98-106, and a declaration that he could appear as counsel in the Federal Courts in light of s. 11(2) of the Federal Courts Act, RSC 1985, c F 7, and by authorization of the Ontario Court of Appeal certificate issued in 1991, allowing him to appear in the Ontario courts. The respondent brought a motion to strike the application, which was granted. Mr. Leahy’s appeal was allowed in part. The Federal Court of Appeal remitted for reconsideration Mr. Leahy’s request for a declaration that he be able to appear before the Federal Court despite not being a member of the LSO. The Federal Court dismissed his application in July, 2019. When Mr. Leahy attempted to file a notice of appeal in January, 2020, he was advised that this would require a motion for an extension of time. Mr. Leahy brought the motion for an extension of time that was dismissed by the Federal Court of Appeal.
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