Professional Responsibility
Notice of Hearing Panel decision in Lyle Howe matter

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A Hearing Panel released its written decision on Monday, July 17 in the matter between the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and Halifax lawyer Lyle Howe.

Mr. Howe’s behaviour “constitutes professional misconduct and professional incompetence,” said the unanimous decision from the Hearing Panel, which includes lawyers Ron J. MacDonald QC and Donald C. Murray QC and public representative Dr. Richard Norman.

The 140-page decision is available on the Professional Responsibility Decisions and dispositions page of the Society’s website.

The Society charged Mr. Howe on May 25, 2015 for allegedly violating provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct and Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct: A Handbook for Lawyers in Nova Scotia, as well as Regulations made pursuant to the Legal Profession Act. The events at issue spanned a timeframe between 2011 and 2016. His hearing took place over 66 days between December 10, 2015 and April 19, 2017.

Hearing on sanction: September 12, 2017
Regulation 9.14.7 provides that the Hearing Panel must reconvene within 60 business days of delivering its decision for the purposes of determining the appropriate sanction or penalty. A hearing on sanction has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 12, 2017, starting at 9:00 am. It will be open to the public in accordance with Section 44(1) of the Legal Profession Act

To review the range of sanctions available to the Hearing Panel, see section 45 of the Legal Profession Act.   

Process for appeals
Subject to section 49 of the Legal Profession Act, every decision of a hearing panel “is final and shall not be questioned or reviewed in any court.” Section 49(2) stipulates that a party may appeal to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal on any question of law from the findings of a hearing panel.

The notice of appeal must be filed with the Court and served upon the other party no more than 30 business days after the panel’s decision on penalty. While the hearing panel’s decision takes effect immediately, if it is appealed the Court of Appeal can grant a stay of any order made pursuant to the Legal Profession Act.

Mr. Howe has been suspended from practice since September 1, 2016. An unrelated complaint against him dated April 13, 2017 resulted in new charges and a notice of referral to hearing. That hearing is adjourned subject to terms outlined in a Hearing Committee decision rendered on May 25, 2017.

Clients or other persons affected by Mr. Howe’s suspension may continue to direct inquiries to the Receiver appointed to his practice: John A. McKiggan QC, whose contact information is in the Society’s online Lawyer Search directory.