The "Fox Policing the Hen House": Lawyers Shouldn't be Policing Lawyers in Canada

The "Fox Policing the Hen House": Lawyers Shouldn't be Policing Lawyers in Canada

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Stephen Dugandzic started this petition to Government of Alberta and

Summary

I created this Petition to generate awareness of the systemic problems affecting Canada's legal profession, as a call to action. As it stands in Alberta, a select few lawyers maintain complete control over all investigations and discipline against other lawyers for misconduct in what is a secretive process taking place behind closed doors. This happens without any independent oversight or public involvement, and usually results in a flawed process and serious injustice at the public's expense. Significant lawyer misconduct (even criminal activity) is brazenly swept under the rug and other lawyers often end up being unfairly targeted, discriminated against and harassed for speaking out against it.

Personal connections, conflicts of interest, bias, you name it - it's all there. These problems affect everybody equally, and in a profound way. Independent, public oversight has been demanded and attained in other prominent sectors such as law enforcement and policing, all over the world, largely due to public outcry. Lawyers should be no different - they have proven to be incapable of policing themselves and this injustice must end. These privileged people must be held accountable. Speak out against this injustice today and tell our Government of Alberta that we demand change now. Sign this petition, share with others, and comment below to share your own personal stories of Law Society corruption, mistreatment and injustice. The abuse and revictimization ends now. We're in this together. With your help, 2021 will be the year of reform to Alberta's broken legal profession - we won't be stopped.

We want to hear your personal stories. Other notable examples of deliberate Law Society failings include, among thousands of others not reported:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-law-society-rejects-disciplinary-hearing-allan-botan-1.4744640

https://www.pentictonherald.ca/news/article_b04ab38c-a20d-11e6-8a4d-e7d5e8f2dd7f.html

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-lawyer-suspended-for-five-months-for-misconduct-involving-roma-refugees-1.3071343

Overview

The Law Society of Alberta ("LSA") oversees the Province of Alberta's legal profession. It is "self-governing" in the sense that it is staffed with lawyers who are tasked with regulating other lawyers - many of the LSA staff lawyers have been in power for many years, if not decades without any checks and balances in place.

Generally, this inherent conflict gives rise to clear abuses of power and authority, corruption, mistreatment of others and miscarriages of justice, whether as against members of the public who have legitimate grievances against lawyers under the LSA's authority and jurisdiction or other lawyers who are unfairly targeted, discriminated against and mistreated by a rogue group of staff at the LSA who have been permitted to operate with absolute impunity.

The Legal Profession Act, RSA 2000, c L-8, is the legislative instrument that the LSA derives its statutory authority from - it is a quasi public body mandated to act in the public interest. Given the many ongoing abuses committed by privileged and power hungry staff at the LSA in brazenly disregarding public concerns about lawyer misconduct, it is time for the Government of Alberta to act and amend the Legal Profession Act with respect to the self-governing structure of the LSA. The LSA has consistently failed Albertans who have been wronged by other lawyers, in what is nothing other than a cycle of revictimization. The concept of lawyers regulating lawyers does not work. 

An independent board overseeing the LSA's investigative and adjudicative functions comprised of lay members of the public is desperately needed to restore public trust in what is a broken regulatory system. The LSA has had ample opportunity to show it can regulate the Province's lawyers in an objective and unbiased manner - it has repeatedly neglected to do so, to the public's clear detriment, without so much as caring to hear about the impact of its actions. This must stop now. With your help, 2021 will be the year we finally see the fundamental reform so badly needed.

Let's tell our Government that we demand change to the Legal Profession Act, take back the power and authority that's been continuously misused by the LSA in secrecy for decades and restore public confidence in Alberta's legal profession. We demand accountability and transparency. 

Sign this petition to tell the Government of Alberta and Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General (note: Mr. Madu is a lawyer connected to the LSA) that we demand better and that action is required NOW. We will not stop until bona fide action is taken by our Provincial Government to stop the abuses committed by the LSA. Independent governance is absolutely necessary and the public should be electing "benchers" (i.e. Directors of the LSA), not other lawyers as is currently the case. It's a simple fix to the Legal Profession Act by way of amendment that the LSA has lobbied Government against doing for decades. Enough is enough.

About Stephen Dugandzic

Stephen Dugandzic is a lawyer who has fought hard for justice and equality in Alberta's legal profession. He excelled academically and graduated near the top of his class at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in 2013. Having previously worked with some of Alberta's biggest law firms, Stephen has seen what happens from the inside. Stephen was completely fed up with the state of Alberta's legal profession. Prohibitively costly fees, systemic discrimination, unnecessary barriers to accessing legal services, poor service and and utter disregard for the public interest caused him to create a first of its kind, client-focused, people-first employment law practice that reduced costs to the public by over 30% and gave back to the community. The change so badly needed was brought forward by Stephen and his forward-thinking practice.

The LSA resisted the change created by Stephen and targeted Stephen's health in bad faith and in a deliberate attempt to push him out of the legal profession. Stephen is committed to helping everyday Albertans and will not stop until the change so badly needed is achieved. More about Stephen and his story can be found here:  https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/calgary-employment-lawyer-files-human-rights-complaint-against-law-society-of-alberta-for-targeted-attack-on-health-811153913.html?fbclid=IwAR1H2AdVwlBWhGoqYPsTUk3xtI7GT3u3jVAdF1Ge1uNp7gyk5-jgQLpkcG8

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