Potential pitfalls for members of the Canadian Forces when engaging legal counsel

Posted February 27, 2017 Category: Businesses

This week, we conclude the 3-part series intended to introduce the firm’s Military Administrative Law practice.

The first article, which can be found through this link, described the potential pitfalls arising from the rhetoric surrounding the CF’s Operation HONOUR (Op HONOUR), and how a CF member affected by Op HONOUR-related decision-making might benefit from the counsel of a well-informed and experienced legal advisor and advocate. The second article, which can be found through this link, discussed, more generally, the circumstances in which a CF member might benefit from the assistance of legal counsel and how a CF member might balance the advantage of such counsel with the personal expense of retaining a lawyer.

This week’s article – the final in the series – describes two specific potential pitfalls concerning the decision whether or not to initiate litigation and the manner in which a grievor or complainant offers representations to CF decision-makers. Litigation is one of many options available to a CF member when he or she has a dispute with another person or with the ‘chain of command’. It is also often a last resort in light of the many complaint resolution mechanisms available within the CF’s administrative regime. Because litigation can be a time-consuming endeavor, it can also be costly when it is conducted by privately-retained counsel.

Even a cursory review of judgments from the Federal Court offers examples of CF members who have represented themselves before the Federal Court. One of the benefits of retaining private counsel is that a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer can help a CF member decide whether or not litigation is the optimal recourse in a given situation. Similarly, a skilled advocate can assist CF members with effective articulation of their grievances or complaints. While occasions arise in which a CF member must or should take a firm position in the face of injustice, unnecessarily strident or antagonistic language can often be counter-productive.

If you are a current or former member of the CF, or a member of the extended military community, and you believe your rights, interests or privileges have been adversely affected by decision-makers in the Canadian Forces, these articles will be of interest to you. If you believe that you could be assisted by legal counsel in such matters, please contact me and we can discuss your concerns.

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Posted February 27, 2017 Category: Businesses

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