Telecom Procedural Letter addressed to John Lawford (PIAC)

Ottawa, 9 June 2017

Our reference: 8640-B2-201602326, 8640-B2-201601253, 8640-B2-201606245, 8640-B2-201606534, 8640-T66-201608606, 8638-T66-201607433, 1011-NOC2016-0333, 8640-T66-201608408, 8663-P8-201607186, 1011-NOC2016-0192, 1011-NOC2016-0431, 1011-NOC2016-0116 and 1101-NOC2016-0293

BY EMAIL

Mr. John Lawford
Executive Director & General Counsel, PIAC
One Nicholas Street, suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
Email: jlawford@piac.ca  

RE: Status of Counsel to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre for Costs Purposes

Dear Mr. Lawford,

The Commission is in receipt of several applications for costs from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) that include claims for legal fees for legal counsel and/or articling students at the rates established for external legal services. Specifically, the Commission has received costs applications for participation in the following proceedings:

The purpose of this letter is to request additional information from PIAC regarding the status of the following claimants for costs purposes in the above mentioned costs applications.

In light of the number of applications involved, and the fact that the same issue arises in all of these applications, Commission staff considers that it would be most efficient for PIAC to provide a single response that will be added to the public record of each of the above listed proceedings.

1. John Lawford’s Status

On 11 April 2017, the Commission issued Telecom Order 2017-95, Determination of costs award with respect to the participation of the Affordable Access Coalition in the proceeding leading to Telecom Regulatory Policy 2016-496 (Telecom Order 2017-95). In this order, the Commission determined that Mr. Lawford reports to the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) as “Practicing law – Employed”, which would appear to conflict with submissions made in the above applications that Mr. Lawford reports to LSUC as being in “Private Practice”.Footnote1

In light of this finding, PIAC is invited to make additional submissions regarding Mr. Lawford’s status with respect to PIAC’s participation in the above noted proceedings, in order to clarify this apparent inconsistency. As part of its submissions, PIAC is requested to confirm, with supporting documentation, Mr. Lawford’s status as reported to LSUC at the time each of the applicable costs applications was made.

2. Articling Student Status

Similarly, PIAC is invited to make submissions on the relationship between PIAC and the articling students for which it has requested costs in the above-noted proceedings. Specifically, please confirm the identity of the principal to each of the articling students listed in the costs applications in the above proceedings, as well as the principal’s status as reported to LSUC. For each articling student, please provide submissions as to whether the articling student performed any work for PIAC under the supervision of legal counsel other than the principal, and whether the articling students worked for any clients of the principal other than PIAC.

3. Departure from the Guidelines

Pursuant to the Guidelines for the Assessments of Costs (the Guidelines),Footnote2 it is open to applicants to provide brief written submissions showing cause why the Guidelines should be departed from. As the Commission noted in Telecom Order 2017-95, “it is open to claimants to (i) provide explanations in cases where they feel that a question does not address their particular circumstances, or (ii) request an exception to the Guidelines”.Footnote3

Assuming that Mr. Lawford’s status is “Practising Law – Employed”, as determined by the Commission in Telecom Order 2017-95, PIAC is invited to make brief submissions on why an exception to the Guidelines should be made in the determination of Mr. Lawford’s status for costs applications purposes and that he be treated as external counsel.

Similarly, assuming that the articling students’ status is internal, PIAC is invited to make brief submissions on why an exception to the Guidelines should be made in order that their status be treated as external.

Filing Information with the Commission

The requested information should be filed with the Commission by 19 June 2017. Any other party to the costs orders at issue may file a response by 29 June 2017. PIAC may reply to any comments by no later than 5 July 2017. All filings are to be served on all parties copied in the distribution list to this letter.

A copy of this letter and all related correspondence will be added to the public record of each proceeding referenced in this letter.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Allison McLean at 819-635-8099 or allison.mclean@crtc.gc.ca.  

Yours Sincerely,

[originally signed by]

Alastair Stewart
Senior Legal Counsel, Team Leader Telecom

c.c.: Allison McLean, CRTC, (819) 635-8099 allison.mclean@crtc.gc.ca

Distribution List

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