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Statement from the CLA regarding GROIA

“The Supreme Court of Canada’s majority decision in Groia v. Law Society of Upper Canada has confirmed the importance of resolute advocacy particularly in the criminal law context.  “Criminal defence lawyers are the final frontier between the accused and the power of the state.”  The Court accepted the position advanced by our Association by one of our past-Presidents Frank Addario as well as Robin Parker and Samara Secter, that “for criminal defence lawyers, fearless advocacy extends beyond ethical obligations into the realm of constitutional imperatives” and that “defence lawyers must have sufficient latitude to advance their clients’ rights to make full answer and defence by raising arguments about the propriety of state actors’ conduct without fear of reprisal.”  Although civility is important and is often the most effective way of advancing the interests of our clients, the highest Court of the land has confirmed that courts and regulators cannot use allegations of incivility to “chill the kind of fearless advocacy” that is often needed in criminal cases.”