Summary

39340

Law Society of Saskatchewan v. Peter V. Abrametz

(Saskatchewan) (Civil) (By Leave)

Keywords

Administrative law — Abuse of process — Delay — Disciplinary proceedings pursued by Law Society against lawyer — Hearing Committee dismissing lawyer’s application to stay proceedings as a result of undue delay constituting an abuse of process — Court of Appeal allowing appeal in part — What is applicable standard of review — What are principles applicable to administrative delay — Whether Court of Appeal erred in its Blencoe v. British Columbia (Human Rights Commission), 2000 SCC 44, [2000] 2 S.C.R. 307 analysis — Whether law in respect of administrative delay should be changed in light of R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27, [2016] 1 S.C.R. 631 and Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, [2014] 1 S.C.R. 87.

Summary

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This case arises from disciplinary proceedings pursued by the appellant, the Law Society of Saskatchewan (“LSS”), against the respondent lawyer, Peter V. Abrametz. Those proceedings, which began with an audit investigation initiated in 2012, resulted in a January 10, 2018, decision in which a Hearing Committee of the LSS found Mr. Abrametz guilty of four counts of conduct unbecoming a lawyer. The convictions were for breaches of the Law Society of Saskatchewan Rules and the version of the Code of Professional Conduct that was then in effect.

On January 18, 2019, the Hearing Committee ordered Mr. Abrametz disbarred, with no right to apply for readmission as a lawyer prior to January 1, 2021. In its November 8, 2018, stay decision, the Hearing Committee dismissed Mr. Abrametz’s application to stay the proceedings as a result of undue delay constituting an abuse of process.

Mr. Abrametz appealed his conviction and the penalty decision to the Court of Appeal pursuant to s. 56(1) of The Legal Profession Act, 1990, S.S. 1990-91, c. L-10.1. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part; it stayed the Law Society proceedings; set aside the imposed penalty and costs awards but findings of professional misconduct were maintained.

Lower Court Rulings

January 10, 2018
Law Society of Saskatchewan

Mr. Abrametz found guilty of four counts of conduct unbecoming a lawyer and ordered disbarred without a right to apply for readmission before 2021; Application for stay of proceedings dismissed.
July 3, 2020
Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan

2020 SKCA 81, CACV3371
Appeal allowed in part; Law Society proceedings stayed; penalty and costs award imposed set aside; findings of professional misconduct stand.