Summary

40953

Diane Lafond v. Me Samy Elnemr, en sa qualité de syndic adjoint du Barreau du Québec

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)

Keywords

Law of professions — Lawyers — Discipline — Penalties — Inability to act of committee member — Court of Appeal — Leave to appeal — Whether Court of Appeal erred in law in applying criteria for allowing application for leave to appeal judgment — Whether Court of Appeal committed error of mixed fact and law in finding that Superior Court did not misapply standard of review — Whether Court of Appeal committed error of mixed fact and law in stating that penalties imposed were not based on error in principle or on erroneous application of relevant factors in clearly inadequate manner — Whether s. 118.3 of Professional Code allows Disciplinary Council of Barreau du Québec to render decisions with only two members without justifying “inability to act” of one member — Professional Code, CQLR, c. C 26, s. 118.3.

Summary

Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch). Please note that summaries are not provided to the Judges of the Court. They are placed on the Court file and website for information purposes only.

On March 22, 2019, the Barreau du Québec’s Disciplinary Council convicted the applicant, Diane Lafond, of three counts: (1) failing to declare to her client, who was claiming amounts of money for an assault, that she had collected $80,000 from a third party as extrajudicial fees when the case was settled out of court; (2) collecting without entitlement, as professional fees, $95,000, which represented 50% of the amount of the out-of-court settlement despite the fact that the fee agreement reached with the client set out a percentage of 30%; and (3) participating in a scheme by giving the third party payer two invoices for services never rendered to that company. On August 30, 2019, at a second hearing where only two of the three committee members were present, the Disciplinary Council fined the applicant $4,000 on the first count and disbarred her for 12 months and for 6 months on the second and third counts, respectively. The applicant appealed those decisions to the Professions Tribunal of Quebec.

The Professions Tribunal allowed in part the applicant’s appeal and acquitted her of count 2, finding that the Disciplinary Council had failed to assess relevant evidence relating to the offence of appropriation. It upheld the other convictions and penalties. The Superior Court dismissed the application for judicial review as it was of the view that the applicant had not discharged her burden of demonstrating that the Professions Tribunal’s decision was unreasonable. The Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed the application for leave to appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

March 16, 2022
Tribunal des Professions

2022 QCTP 14, 500-07-001046, 500-07-001048-192
Appeal allowed in part; guilty verdicts and penalties handed down by Barreau du Québec’s Disciplinary Council upheld on counts 1 and 3; guilty verdict quashed and penalty annulled on count 2
June 20, 2023
Superior Court of Quebec

2023 QCCS 2191, 500-17-120350-221
Application for judicial review dismissed
August 18, 2023
Court of Appeal of Quebec (Montréal)

2023 QCCA 1062, 500-09-030629-232
Application for leave to appeal dismissed