The ruling on Rob Ford’s conflict of interest by Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland that was released on Nov. 26 outlined his conclusions. But his “reasons for decision” are not the official document that will be the subject of the appeal by Mr. Ford to the Ontario Divisional Court.
Instead, as in all civil proceedings in the province, the judge was required to sign a formal court order that is the official Superior Court judgment in the case. That has not yet been filed.
What will be filed is the end product of one of the two “draft” orders from lawyers representing Mr. Ford (Alan Lenczner) and Paul Magder (Clayton Ruby) sent to the judge this week. The only real difference in the two-page orders was a paragraph inserted by Mr. Lenczner, lawyer for Mr. Ford, that read that nothing in the “reasons for decision” would limit the ability of the Mayor to “run for re-election at any time.”
What the lawyers were looking for was clarification on what the judge meant when he wrote that Mr. Ford was not disqualified from holding office “beyond the current term.” The judge’s response to their question would determine whether Mr. Ford could run in a by-election or whether he would have to wait until 2014 to seek office again, if he is unsuccessful in his appeal.
There was also a sense of urgency on behalf of Mr. Ford, because a motion to “stay” any removal from office pending appeal is scheduled to be heard by the Divisional Court on Dec. 5. “We would appreciate receiving clarification so that we may issue the Order by that time,” wrote Mr. Lenczner, on Nov. 28.
Justice Hackland issued a “corrigendum” or correction Friday, which removed the phrase “beyond the current term” from his decision, meaning that the final court order would not restrict Mr. Ford’s right to run in a by-election.
While the process moved especially quickly for Mr. Ford, it is not unusual for lawyers to seek clarification about a ruling, said Jonathan Rosenstein, a civil litigation lawyer who also teaches civil procedure at the University of Toronto law school.
“When the parties can’t agree on exactly what should be in the order, they can make an appointment with the judge to “settle” the terms of the formal order,” explained Mr. Rosenstein.
Special to The Globe and Mail