The client most lawyers fear – and won’t represent at any price

The client most lawyers fear – and won’t represent at any price

by Donald Best


There is a class of self-represented litigants that the legal profession does not talk about or even acknowledge, at least publicly. These are the people who are ready and willing to pay a lawyer, but are forced to represent themselves because the vast majority of lawyers refuse to litigate cases involving a claim of professional misconduct against another member of the Bar.

In the past year I have spoken with dozens of such individuals. I am not a lawyer, but they appear to have good civil claims against lawyers for unethical or even unlawful conduct – apparently supported by strong evidence and backed by case law. Yet these Canadians are unable to find legal representation at any price.

Some of these victims choose to self-represent, while others abandon any thoughts of seeking justice. Increasingly, self-represented litigants are assisted behind the scenes with legal research and document preparation by lawyers who are sympathetic, but fear backlash and opprobrium from the profession if they take the case themselves.

The perils of challenging a lawyer in court

I approached over one hundred Ontario lawyers to petition the court to overturn my conviction for contempt. This conviction resulted from a private prosecution that was led by two senior lawyers from large Bay Street firms. All refused to take my case, even as they acknowledged its validity and the strength of the evidence against the Bay Street lawyers.

In brief: I had been convicted of contempt of court in a civil matter while out of the country, and sentenced to three months in prison. My conviction in absentia was based upon the written and oral testimony of two Toronto lawyers who swore that, during a conference call with them, I had confirmed that I had received a copy of a certain court order. Their sworn evidence also assured the court that they had served the order upon me in Ontario via courier. (The courier company however, stated that they had never received the court order from the lawyers, and no shipping documents, signature receipt, or tracking number have ever been produced by the lawyers). An affidavit by their “private investigator” provided an expert opinion that I was deliberately avoiding service – because I use a commercial mailbox as my address.

In fact, I had not received the court order, and stated this many times clearly during the conference call (as a forensically certified recording proved). Instead I asked, many times, for the lawyers to please send me a copy.

Despite this, I was held in contempt based on the lawyers’ assertion that I had received the court order and confirmed that receipt to them during the call.

Looking for representation

I returned to Canada and hoped to put the recording of the conference call and other evidence before the court. I knew that I would face prison time for contempt if I were unsuccessful.

So I searched for a lawyer to represent me.

Many of the young lawyers I approached were sympathetic and forthright, even admitting that they were ashamed to have to turn me down. They explained that they dared not take my case because they feared the professional and social sanctions that would certainly result. Some cited conflicts of interest involving past colleagues and law firms, while others explained that they regularly receive work from the large Bay Street firms, and could not afford to jeopardize that source of business.

A surprising number of lawyers told me that it was their firm’s policy not to litigate against lawyers, or to bring motions or evidence that would harm the careers of other lawyers. (“Yes, Mr. Best, the lawyers lied to the judge to convict you, but our firm simply does not handle this type of case.”)

When I explained all of the above to Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada and asked for assistance in finding a lawyer willing to represent me, I received a form letter referring me to the list of lawyers on the Law Society’s website (the Lawyers Referral Service).

Trying to defend myself

Since no lawyer would represent me at any price, I was forced to represent myself.

The judge (the same judge who presided over the original hearing) would not listen to the conference call recording or consider any other fresh evidence that proved that I had never received the court order, and that for the lawyers to claim otherwise was perjury. The judge also refused me permission to cross-examine the lawyers and the “private investigator” all of whom provided testimony the court relied upon to convict and send me to prison.

The judge sent me to prison.

It was while I was in prison that I finally found and retained a lawyer willing to appeal my conviction.

My appeal: finally represented by a lawyer

I shall never forget this moment.

When my lawyer introduced himself at the appeal hearing, opposing counsel refused to shake his hand, saying that he would not shake the hand of a lawyer who filed a motion stating that a colleague had deceived the court. And so the social and professional sanctions began: against the one lawyer I found with the courage and integrity to act on his sense of duty.

I was eventually forced to abandon my appeal because of punitive costs (that I could not pay) awarded against me earlier, and returned to prison to serve the rest of my sentence (which, as a former police officer, I served in solitary confinement). No court ever heard my certified voice recordings of the phone call with the lawyers. I was never allowed to cross-examine the lawyers and other witnesses upon whose testimony I was convicted and sent to prison.

My lawyer believes that everyone deserves Access to Justice and fair legal representation – but for over one hundred other Ontario lawyers, Access to Justice apparently ends if a litigant has evidence of misconduct by a fellow member of the Bar.

Donald Best is an Access to Justice & Anti-corruption advocate. A former Toronto Police Sergeant (Detective), he worked on deep-cover investigations against organized crime, corrupt police, and public officials. His website is


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Comments (39)

  • Allen

    People do not understand what is going on in the access to justice situation in this country and take a naive stance in thinking little cosmetic fixes will address it. More people must tell their stories publicly. How can we get to Ottawa as a group? I am prepared to go there

    Donald your case is only one of the types of client no lawyer wants and actually has to avoid in order to hold on to their careers.

    Recently one nasty one in Calgary tried to stiff me because I was unlawfully declared vexatious. He told me that to my face but when I took his thieving self to the law society for the other dirty tricks he and the other lawyer tried to play on me he makes up all kinds of story and would not mention that it was because of the vexatious status. You should hear the dumb lies he told the law society. By the way I told his brother right off the bat about my status and he took my case knowing that.

    In a case like yours, the judge is forever beholden to those lawyers and probably he was before that so he had no choice but to do their bidding. I am told some things about some of our judges many of whom were appointed for the exact reason so lawyers can have them as their puppets.

    I have quite a few corrupt officials and I have much evidence can your organisation help me to get those creeps especially those off the bench?

    July 7, 2016 at 3:18 pm
  • nic

    your story is totally credible ; we have experienced the same kind of unfair and as far as we are concerned ” unlawful ” treatment as self represented litigants in a construction warranty court case . The legal community protects FIRST the legal community and if no risk and providing astronomical costs, then the consumer , willing to pay and too often unaware of the FINAL amount !!!!

    July 7, 2016 at 3:24 pm
  • sandra olson

    thank you for your story. it follows mine and how the courts handled my case, pull up Sandra olson dna fraud, my site will tell it there, Your story filled in some of the blanks on why the courts acted as they did towards me and my case. I am criticizing the courts, and asking questions that it seems no one wants to answer, I also have never been able to examine the evidence, nor question any of the parties, and I have been labeled vexatious, and ordered to pay triple costs, I have been trying to find a lawyer since,, but not one will take my case. I obtained new evidence, supporting what I am saying, took it to the police, it proves contempt of court, fraud on the court etc . I could never understand why the courts did not want to hear this or see what I have produced, these new reports are also posted on my web site., thank you again for telling your story. the pieces are starting to fall into place. faster.

    July 7, 2016 at 3:31 pm
  • Grant A. Brown, DPhil (Oxon), LL.B.

    Name names: the lawyers who lied, the “private investigator,” the judge(s), the lawyers who represented the lawyers who lied – everyone. If your account is true, they will not dare sue you for defamation, because that would entail a lengthy discovery process whereby you can prove your case against them.

    July 7, 2016 at 5:09 pm
    • Allen

      You don’t get it! They are a lawless gang of thugs. His case would not see the light of day and if he uses his knowledge and they see him as a threat to expose them his case will be thrown out by a bogus Summary Judgement (SJP) and he will be declared vexatious so that he can only proceed with a tight noose around his neck where he has to get permission from every judge to do anything at all in the process. I could go on and on. Please get it. The courts are overrun with thugs and our court centres are centres of organised crime and this runs the whole gamut of our courts with the worst being the Supreme Court.

      We all need to go straight up to parliament Hill and demand to speak with the Prime Minister. Then and only then will these thugs sit up straight. This lawlessness in our courts is at the level where it calls for a public enquiry where judges enjoy no protection and must answer every question put to them publicly

      Let me point out these judges are sending people to prison on civil cases when they go to court seeking justice. Do you get it?

      July 8, 2016 at 12:40 am
    • sandra olson

      i have discovered that a lengthy discovery process requires the PERMISSION of the court, I asked for this repeatedly and was NEVER given one opportunity to ask anyone anything, nor was any order ever granted to examine the evidence. Then, when I was sitting in the discovery room, waiting for the arrival of everyone FOR EXAMINATION, the opposing lawyer, a friend of the court, had the file transferred to another district, and had the entire case dismissed with costs because I wasn’t there. I took all my motions, service notices, and proof of the booking of the room, to the court. while the judge admitted that what I was saying was true, he refused to deal with it and dismissed the case again, declared me vexatious, and assessed triple costs against me. it is all on my web site, pull up Sandra olson dna fraud. And yes, I have been naming names. Not one party has threatened me with a lawsuit, but what good is that if I can do nothing about what they have done.

      July 8, 2016 at 12:54 am
    • Donald Best

      Hello Grant,

      My website provides much more detail, and I’m sure will satisfy all your questions. Thank you for being concerned enough to demand proof and corroborated evidence.

      Please don’t take my word for anything. I welcome your scrutiny. Examine the court documents, listen to the recordings, read the transcripts and then make up your own mind about what happened with my case. And why it happened.

      Why it happened is so important.

      July 8, 2016 at 1:23 am
      • sudokutea

        Have you considered code of conduct complaints to LSUC?
        I am working on a complaint, and we may be able to help each other….

        July 8, 2016 at 11:03 pm
      • Donald Best

        Hello sudokutea,

        The Law Society of Upper Canada is actually well aware of the entire situation, and also of additional related misconduct by the opposing Bay Street lawyers. For reasons that LSUC has yet to explain to me or to anyone, the Law Society chose not to seize evidence, did not examine law firm case file records and trust account records, and did not investigate the related wrongdoing.

        You can download a pdf of my letters to the Law Society of Upper Canada, and their response here:

        As to why LSUC did nothing, and did not obtain and protect evidence or launch an investigation, well, you would have to ask the Law Society itself.

        Good luck with that.

        Donald Best

        July 9, 2016 at 12:44 am
        • Allen

          I am currently dealing with the Law Society of Alberta and just two days ago they returned a piece of evidence I submit telling me how that cannot be used. The nerve. The shocking part is the crooked lawyer who works there as complaint reviewer is the same one handling the appeal file that appeals her decision and she returned documentary evidence I did not submit to her. Tell me how did she get hold of it

          When I called to talk to “someone to whom a reviewer reports” the little receptionists, gave me no name but suddenly directed my call to an obvious member of the crooked group letting me know she is in charge of the department. I asked for another department but suddenly Miss receptionist knows no contact for anybody at the Law society except those in that same department of crooks. I just told her I will find somebody in another department and will write directly to the directors

          I think it is time we report these crooked law societies to the main one that licence lawyers- can’t remember their name right now. (not the law society of upper Canada)

          July 9, 2016 at 1:12 pm
          • sandra olson

            when I filed an appeal of the horrifying decision issued by the courts of BC, I faxed my paperwork into the court of appeal three times. Each time the clerk kept insisting they did not get the fax. this was even though I had a fax confirmation in my hand. Litterally, the court of appeal refused to accept and acknowledge my filing, apparently, they now have my file classified as abandoned,. The clerks and the support staff at the courts are all working with this criminal organization.

            July 13, 2016 at 3:26 pm
            • Allen

              Sandra have so many written complaints to the Chief Justices in Alberta about the dirty clerks. Twice or so I got an investigation by an idiot (the (one of the CJ’s assistant) who brags how he always tells her to respond to me. She is lucky so far that my hands are so full reporting dirty lawyers to the useless law society that I have not gotten around to her yet.

              My lady my hands are full dealing with those rats.The only functional part of that court centre is LINC and I wonder when they will go after Linc to ,make them dysfunctional

              July 14, 2016 at 11:16 am
        • sudokutea

          I seem to be not explaining things well

          I got you LSUC materials, but it would be better to talk
          If you search sudokutea on google – you will get a google play link
          Contact me at the email address on the google play sudotea listing (bundyszabo )

          July 9, 2016 at 3:11 pm
  • sudokutea

    Sadly and Obviously the real problem is the judge.

    July 7, 2016 at 7:08 pm
    • Allen

      I went to the liberal party convention in my province and boldly moved a motion for the government to enact a policy that makes judges truly accountable to the public (in case you do not know they are supposedly accountable to us) but immediately a old judge who as it turned out in involved in my moms kidnapping, rape and human trafficking among other heinous crimes just so happen to be there and got up and told them what I don’t know is that certain persons who are not qualified are political hacks who got appointed to the bench ad are doing these things. He then tried to get us to re-word our policy “so that lawyers will like it” I did not give one biscuit about whether lawyers liked my policy or not. In fact I did not want them to like it. They also tried to get me to word it to say we just need more Legal Aid money and I do not share that view for as it is Legal Aid is controlled by the same thugs -lazy lawyers who cannot make their billable hours and come tell people to give up their right and plead guilty when they are not or give away their civil cases.

      Another big bogus scam going on in Alberta is those lawyers who are supposed to be helping and rising amicus in court but are really gangsters who help their colleagues to win against unsuspecting SRLs. These crooks just sully the effort of genuine lawyers who really help people

      Also I am finding that the female judges are really one rotten bunch and the old white men are way better and have more integrity

      July 8, 2016 at 12:49 am
    • sandra olson

      yes, the judges are complete criminals. they have no respect for the law, and have a strange sense of entitlement. obviously bolstered, by their friends in high places. We the unknowing public, have put our faith in the charter, to little good.

      July 8, 2016 at 12:57 am
      • Allen

        Yep, the judges literally smirk when they SRLs make argument in court about the Charter or case law from the Supreme Court. I have personally NEVER encountered so many barefaced criminals in one place

        We need to go to Ottawa to demand protection from abuse in court rooms. If we demand that government remove the tools of abuse from these crooks the court rooms will become better places. For instance, let’s ask parliament to put a moratorium on judges determining cost, sending people straight to prison from civil court and taking away any right whatsoever from a litigants without going through parliament/legislature via the AG’s office with the person having the right to be heard and to make arguments in the process.All the bullies would then be restrained and people protected from the abuse

        Force the crooked judges to deal strictly with the law and the case before them and where any judge goes off the charts in the manner here such as In Ms Jensen’s and Mr best’s case such a case should not go to appeal court (ie to another crook) but straight to parliament/legislature. Nobody elected these crooks to office ad the elected government is accountable to us -the public

        Lets join forces and let’s go for it NOW for each day they continue to have such unfettered power is a day of injustice in this country

        July 8, 2016 at 1:47 pm
        • sandra olson

          I have tried repeatedly to contact both Justin Trudeau, and jody raybold. I get correspondence back signed by A MANAGER. no name, just A MANAGER, advising me that no one is interested in my case as it is not federal, THEY ONLY DEAL WITH FEDERAL. I pointed out the evidence act is a federal act, no response and no one willing to actually sign their name to the response that they do issue.

          July 8, 2016 at 3:20 pm
          • nic

            and that is the standard modus operandi ….same outcome when we attempted to deal with so many so called consumer protection bodies ….always a reason not to OR …no reply….

            July 8, 2016 at 3:53 pm
          • Allen

            All judges are federally appointed and judge’s conduct is a federal matter so that poor ignorant person is a bad hire. Since no one signs their name then you have not had a response to your letter so I’d say write it again and again as many times until someone signs their name and let them know it. maybe that “A Manager” needs to b reminded of Michael Sona: He alone was sentenced to prison

            We need to go up there and demand that the PM speaks to us and tell him straight up that he has corruption right there under his nose and that makes “real change” agenda a sick joke on Canadians and we will make it an election issue. We should DEMAND he identifies “a manager” and FIRE that crook! We need top let them know we are not going to tolerate hypocrisy from them

            July 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm
            • sandra olson

              I am up for anything. I have tried everything, so anything anyone else can suggest is good with me. I also tried forwarding my web site to all the newspapers. no one will touch this.

              July 9, 2016 at 2:21 am
            • Derek Thompson

              You Are right . Every body has to let the PM know and if no changes then this has to become an Election issue . I have gotten into politics and I am close to running for a candidate . Perhaps you should to . It is easier than you think .

              July 9, 2016 at 2:51 pm
              • Allen

                Yes. Just last night I was at a gathering and they were saying that to me. About 5 years ago a certain professor told me the same thing when I had a big run in with my local school board. However I am about to move away for work but trust me this is a Canada wide issue and distance is no issue with today’s technology. I am committed to this

                July 13, 2016 at 3:54 pm
  • Derek Thompson

    Join the Judicial reform association for free at : and lets start this change we need now .

    July 8, 2016 at 9:51 pm
    • sandra olson

      I will do so, Monday morning. thank you. any lead is a good lead

      July 9, 2016 at 2:22 am
    • Allen

      I would want to be sure I am not joining an association that is sympathetic to the very same crooks we are trying to rid the system of, so please tell us more (not everything) about this org

      If I have learned anything it is that the judiciary infiltrates every group it thinks knows too much about its goings on

      July 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm
      • Derek Thompson

        Hi Allen . Go to and on the top menu and click on judicial reform association . Between the web site and the changes we want in the association I am sure you will see we are just like you .

        July 13, 2016 at 2:36 pm
        • Allen

          You must be commended bro. It is a pity this is coming along when I am physically going away from Alberta. I could really be of help and I will email you.

          I started gathering names of SRLs about 4 years ago to get us to get together but found that we were not the easiest set to work with. One lady in her enthusiasm to get people went about misleading them and just shooting off her mouth to others about things she never should. Then one SRL an educated man who was mistreated so badly-he was even sent to jail for 2 months and declared vexatious said to me that it was wrong to declare him vexatious but some of the people being declared vexatious deserved it and he named one person in particular when he did not know the real story. Yet he could point out to me all the false reporting about him but it never crossed his mind that the same thing obtained for the poor lady (and other judicial victims).

          The court reports are so contaminated that they should not even be made into satirical drama pieces and that includes Canlii. Also Just imagine the Alberta Court of Appeal (I hate calling it court) though you would never know but the AG should, just ruled about the unlawfulness of declaring people vexatious yet our stupid AG is like a like a ghost in a cemetary and unaware of what is going on. Why is it that people can become such ninnies when they get appointed to public office?

          I will be contacting you but please know I do not support foolishness and whatever SRLs do they must not put their foot in their mouth or otherwise act foolishly to empower the crooks we have in robes in our courts or their cronies

          July 14, 2016 at 11:01 am
    • nic

      Derek……..that is an email address you provided but where is the website ..l..could not find it ..

      July 13, 2016 at 2:04 pm
      • Derek Thompson

        Check out on the top menu there is a button you can click on it is called Judicial reform association . It has the changes we want plus much more email me and I can help out that way easier .

        July 15, 2016 at 1:46 pm
  • The client most lawyers fear – and won’t represent at any price | Insurance claim Toronto blog

    […] Source: The client most lawyers fear – and won’t represent at any price […]

    July 12, 2016 at 11:54 pm
  • Derek Thompson

    To Allen . Check out on the top menu there is a button you can click on it is called Judicial reform association . It has the changes we want plus much more .

    July 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm
  • Malton V Attia

    Thank you for writing this. What you say rings true for us. Our case is Malton v Attia.
    We are self reps against a negligent lawyer.

    Our experience had been that we receive justice if we could get to a Judge. Fighting against the Law Society to get there has been the hardest part by far. That said our 3 wins against this lawyer (represented by the law society) have been overturned by appeal and has been sent back to be re-tried. No date yet (we are back fighting to get there).
    We too tried to get a lawyer but no one wold touch it.

    I am of the opinion that a great deal of the problem comes from the fact that lawyers are a self governed profession. The Law Society claims to exist to protect the public but they are funded by the lawyers. How can that work well?

    July 14, 2016 at 11:06 pm
    • Derek Thompson

      I found the Law society was so bad I had to make complaints about the staff that was handling the complaints . They where terrible . But the protect each other right to the top . Proof the Law Society can not be self regulated !!

      July 15, 2016 at 1:51 pm
    • John Varga (@JohnVarga2)

      I agree 100%

      July 15, 2016 at 8:14 pm
  • John Varga (@JohnVarga2)

    This is an incredible story. I was once in the same position of defending myself (innocent) and not being able to afford a lawyer. I wish you the best of luck Mr. Best.

    July 15, 2016 at 8:13 pm

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