Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of a decision of the president’s designate on an application for an in-person hearing or to adjourn hearing dates


Peter Darren Steven Hart

Called to the Bar: May 15, 1968

Written submissions: July 6, 2020

President’s Designate: Jennifer Chow, QC

Decision issued: July 8, 2020 (2020 LSBC 34)

Counsel: Ilana Teicher for the Law Society; J.M. Peter Firestone for Peter Darren Steven Hart

BACKGROUND

Peter Darren Steven Hart was cited for 11 allegations dealing with events occurring between 2012 and 2014. He had previously applied for an adjournment of a facts and determination hearing scheduled for November 18 to 22, 2019, which was granted with conditions (2019 LSBC 39).

APPLICATION FOR AN IN-PERSON HEARING OR TO ADJOURN HEARING DATES

At this time, disciplinary hearings are generally held by Zoom video-conferencing due to health concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the provincial requirements for physical distancing. A practice direction was issued on April 27, 2020 to provide alternative options to in-person hearings and to ensure the tribunal’s work continues in the public interest and with fairness to the parties.

Hart applied to hold an in-person disciplinary hearing in place of a hearing by videoconferencing and, in the alternative, to adjourn the hearing dates to a time when the hearing could proceed in-person. The Law Society consented to an in-person disciplinary hearing but opposed any adjournment.

The president’s designate ordered the hearing be held in-person, subject to practice and procedure direction by the hearing panel.  However, she noted that she would have dismissed the application had the Law Society not consented, as Hart’s reasons for not using videoconferencing were not persuasive. The president’s designate ordered the hearing to proceed as scheduled.

2020 LSBC 34 Decision on Application for an In Person Hearing