In George S. Szeto Investments Ltd. et al. v. Ott et al., Master Robert Beaudoin has provided a very useful “checklist” of factors that a court will consider when deciding whether or not a party’s solicitor should, on motion by an opposing party, be removed as solicitor of record. In particular, the case focuses on the issue of a party’s lawyer being a witness at trial.
The law is not new; Master Beaudoin relied on a 1992 Divisional Court decision. But in his reasons, he discusses some of the problems that have cropped up since then on these kinds of motions. (For example, there is a divergence of authority as to whether the motion to remove the opposing solicitor should be brought early or late in the proceedings. The Master reconciles these two streams of caselaw.)
In our experience, the frequency of this type of motions is on the rise. It is helpful to have the applicable principles so conveniently summarized in one place.