Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Council voted yesterday to hire a top-gun lawyer and pursue victory regardless of cost

…is how the London Free Press staff ecumenically describes council's decision to hire outside legal assistance for its challenge to the Ontario Municipal Board order to replace its seven two-councillor wards with fourteen smaller single-councillor wards after all. Apparently Free Press staff are unsympathetic to the challenge. City lawyer Jim Barber had argued that the city's own legal staff were qualified to seek leave to appeal from a divisional court, but their poor preparation and arguments in the original OMB hearing suggest otherwise.

[C]ouncil voted 11-8 to seek help from outside lawyers over the objection of two councillors who said they had supported the appeal in part because it would cost little or nothing.
It's too bad those councillors don't take that consideration when supporting plans that are not a matter of defending principles.

Update, December 21, 2005: It's too bad those councillors don't take that consideration when supporting plans that are not a matter of defending principles.

As if to prove the point, the same lawyer, George Rust D'Eye, that is being hired to appeal the OMB ruling is also being hired to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada an Ontario Court of Appeal decision striking down a bylaw preventing development along a four-block stretch of Richmond Street. The Ontario Court had ruled that the city was not justified in presenting evidence for the bylaw in camera. Unfortunately, the only principle in this case is council's authority to make arbitrary political decisions in secret.
London city solicitor Jim Barber says he won't disclose Rust D'Eye's hourly rate.

0 comments: