How I Punished a Crooked Lawyer

There’s a very cute segment (well, I find it funny; it’s given me quite a chuckle) in Maria De Michele’s article now online in English: 2010 – Quebec Bar Annual Conference : Alone Before the Court.

Under the general heading of “Les incidents” (“Incidental proceedings”), in connection with self-represented litigants, De Michele warns the law community:

La correspondance


Tout avocat sait que la correspondance échangée entre les procureurs au dossier n’a pas à être produite au dossier de la Cour. Cette évidence est difficile à expliquer à un demandeur non représenté.

Every lawyer knows that the correspondence exchanged between lawyers of record is not to be produced into the court file. This obvious fact is hard to explain to a non-represented litigant.

Ainsi, lorsqu’il écrit à l’avocat de la partie adverse, il produira aussi une copie de sa lettre au dossier de la Cour. Plus tard, il produira la correspondance de l’avocat du défendeur.

Thus, when he writes to the lawyer of the adverse party, he also produces a copy of his letter in the Court file. Later, he will produce the correspondence of the defendant’s lawyer.

Lorsque nous écrivons à une partie non représentée, il faut donc garder à l’esprit que notre lettre pourrait se retrouver au dossier de la Cour.

When we write to a non-represented party, we must thus keep in mind that our letter might be found in the Court record.

A big thumbs-up, there, self-representers! Produce that correspondence!

Which reminds me of how I once upon a time hired a (crooked) lawyer (aka Alexandre) in a Rental Board matter; and of how I punished him.

Alexandre sent me a copy of the letter he had served on my landlord on my behalf, without letting me see it first, and which I knew prima facie to be a total crock on the point of law. Alexandre was deliberately screwing me, so I decided to teach him a lesson.

At the time, I was running a housing rental meta site with all Quebec listings on every sort of lodging, from retirement homes to house and apartment rentals, to shelters for the homeless. I decided to feature my crooked lawyer’s letter as an example of “legal advice”. And, of course, I profusely thanked him, on the page, by name, for his opinion. And I sent him the link with my profound expression of gratitude for his legal representation. (In the meantime, I personally sent my crooked landlord a counter-letter disavowing what the lawyer crook had done.) Fortunately, his “fees” were paid by Legal Aid, to whom I also sent a copy of his letter, with my thanks.

Some weeks later, not sooner, the crooked lawyer emailed me alleging that the Quebec Bar was after him on account of the published letter! (Woohoo! Crack me up.) Alexandre asked me to please take it down. I responded by asking him whether the information he had given in the letter was correct. (It was outrageously wrong!) But to save his own face, he had to lie in a return email, declaring it was right. (Cool!)  I wrote back and said, well, I see no reason for the Bar to complain, or to take it offline. And I let it sit there for another six months, to kick his ass.

Let that be my official introduction to the new translation completed on 16 March 2016: Maître Maria De Michele’s Quebec Bar conference item, “2010 – Congrès annuel du Barreau du Québec : Seul devant la Cour” (Alone Before the Court).

What do lawyers officially “think” of self-represented litigants? This 2010 item by a lawyer with the Bar gives other lawyers advice on how to size up and deal with the party who represents himself alone. It is equally useful as insight for the self-represented party into how things work in “the system”. (Tips go both ways!)

In “Seul devant la Cour” (“Alone before the Court”), author De Michele seems mystified if not bewildered by the fact that someone who hasn’t gone through law school can actually learn to do what the lawyers themselves do. And thus, in the midst of the usual accusations and defamatory generalizations about pro-se litigants (the only examples of self-representers given are three “extreme” cases), it’s amusing to see that beneath it all, the lawyers fear our success! Says De Michele:

On pourrait se demander, vu la complexité de la matière, comment un justiciable peut réussir à se représenter seul.

One might wonder, given the complexity of the subject, how a litigant can succeed in representing himself.

Peu de personnes qui se représentent seules n’ont aucun contact avec le milieu juridique. Certains font appel à des avocats pour des conseils ponctuels, d’autres consultent les cliniques d’aide juridique des universités ou des services pro bono. Certains obtiennent des conseils informels de leurs amis avocats, stagiaires ou étudiants en droit. D’autres, se fient aux informations obtenues des préposés des palais de justice.

Few people who represent themselves alone have any contact with the legal milieu. Some consult lawyers for timely advice, others consult legal aid clinics at the universities or pro bono services. Some obtain informal advice from their lawyer friends, stagiaires or law students. Others rely on information gained from clerks at the court house.

La grande majorité de ces personnes décident de s’investir dans leur cause au point de passer de nombreuses heures, sinon leurs journées entières, dans les bibliothèques ou sur Internet pour apprendre à «devenir avocat». Certains s’inscrivent aussi à des cours ou des conférences portant sur les questions de droit en litige.

The large majority of these people decide to invest themselves in their cause to the point of spending many hours, if not whole days, in the libraries or on the Internet to learn how to “become a lawyer”. Some also sign up for courses or conferences on points of law in litigation.

Il ne faut surtout pas sous-estimer les personnes qui se représentent seules. Souvent, elles ont beaucoup d’imagination et soulèvent des arguments qui amènent à réflexion. Dans les cas où ces personnes ont un bon droit d’action, elles auront gain de cause.

One must above all not under-estimate persons who represent themselves alone. Often, they have a lot of imagination and raise arguments which compel reflection. In cases where these persons have a valid right of action, they will win.

And there it is, folks. If we keep it up, if we continue to educate ourselves and make the effort, WE WILL WIN. You heard it from a lawyer for the Quebec Bar, first!

That is what the lawyers really fear. The day when they all are made redundant. By that, I mean the coming revolution when they will no longer be a smug elite. They will no longer hog the roles, control the courts, and run our governments.

This self-appointed “privileged” class which has controlled our civilizations for hundreds of years now, is approaching its own demise.

Public education in the Provinces will one day soon include law, along with reading, writing and arithmetic, as part of the routine curriculum for every self-governing citizen from age six to graduation. Then all those hordes of LL.B’s pumped out by the law faculties will roll like heads on Bastille Day.

We are taught chemistry in high school; biology, geometry, physics. We can certainly learn law: the one subject directly connected with legal and political power. And thus (other than medicine) law is the only fundamental subject kept out of the hands of the poor subservient layman. Illiterate in law, the voter has for a geological era, been at the mercy of those who insist that his little chicken-scratch on a piece of cardboard every few years embodies “democracy” and the “sovereign will” of the people.

Pro-se litigants of the world, you have nothing to lose but your chains, and nothing to gain but your freedom from the law societies!

Until we all learn law, we will never know what is really happening to ourselves and to our country. Therefore, the rising tide of the pro-se litigant in Canada as elsewhere, and the elbow grease required to get our noses into the courts where our rights are confirmed or denied, marks a long overdue citizen’s rite of passage from democratic victim-hood to informed self-government.

In that soon-to-come future day, in order to be a “lawyer”, and come to a Bar, you will have to specialize in something useful, since the general law, both substantive and procedural, will be well known to everyone. We will not have to beg the Legal Aid department for a handout, or render up a king’s ransom to a third-year law hack for a snippet of secret data known only to the Bar.

Moreover, to run for government, constitutional law will be a requirement: our assemblies will no longer be the political roadkill of our highly-controlled justice departments, which currently exist to deceive our elected representatives while serving our self-imposed elites. (If you’re looking for one good example, try the 1982 coup d’état disguised as “patriation”.)

Random Quote

The social tyranny of extorting recantation, of ostracism and virtual outlawry as the new means of coercing the man out of line, is the negation of democracy.

— Justice Ivan Cleveland Rand of the Supreme Court of Canada, Canadian Bar Review (CBR)
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 — Mauro Cappelletti dans Louis Favoreu (dir.), Le pouvoir des juges, Paris, Economica, 1990, p. 115.
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“In public regulation of this sort there is no such thing as absolute and untrammelled ‘discretion’, that is that action can be taken on any ground or for any reason that can be suggested to the mind of the administrator; no legislative Act can, without express language, be taken to contemplate an unlimited arbitrary power exercisable for any purpose, however capricious or irrelevant, regardless of the nature or purpose of the statute. Fraud and cor­ruption in the Commission may not be mentioned in such statutes but they are always implied as exceptions. ‘Discretion’ necessarily implies good faith in discharging public duty; there is always a perspective within which a statute is intended to operate; and any clear departure from its lines or objects is just as objectionable as fraud or corruption.”

— Mr. Justice Ivan Cleveland Rand writing in the most memorable passage in Roncarelli v. Duplessis, [1959] S.C.R. 121 at the Supreme Court of Canada, page 140.
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I am no fan of Saul Alinsky's whose methods are antidemocratic and unparliamentary. But since we are fighting a silent war against the subversive Left, I say, if it works for them, it will work for us. Bring on the ridicule!  And in this case, it is richly deserved by the congeries of judicial forces wearing the Tweedle suits, and by those who are accurately conducting our befuddled usurpers towards the Red Dawn.

— Admin, Judicial Madness, 22 March 2016.
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