Barristers' society charges Halifax lawyer with professional misconduct

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A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge previously said Robinson cost 'needless expense' by appearing in court chambers, and his approach was not the correct way to conduct this case. (Anjuli Patil/CBC - image credit)
A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge previously said Robinson cost 'needless expense' by appearing in court chambers, and his approach was not the correct way to conduct this case. (Anjuli Patil/CBC - image credit)

The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society has charged a Halifax lawyer with professional misconduct for his handling of an investment case.

Christopher Ian Robinson will face a disciplinary hearing at a later date, the society said in a July 5 statement.

Robinson was counsel for Unison Resources Inc., and others in their dispute with Gallagher Holdings Ltd.

At the core of the case was a dispute over investments in what was described as a revolutionary way to extract petroleum products from wells that had been exhausted.

The investment centred on an invention by an Israeli scientist that was supposed to be licensed for use in Canada.

Robinson ordered to pay $35K

In an unusual move, Justice Gerald Moir of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ordered Robinson in 2019 to pay $35,000 in costs because of his conduct during the hearing, which he described as "wastefully combative" and demonstrating "pervasive disrespect" for counsel, the court and the legal process.

"Mr. Robinson forced needless expense by requiring the applicants to go to chambers. On this occasion, he caused waste by failing to comply with part of an order directed to him personally," wrote Moir, whose decision was upheld on appeal.

Moir retired from the court earlier this year.

In announcing its decision to conduct a hearing, the barristers' society cited a number of concerns about Robinson, including that he "failed to treat the court with candour, fairness, courtesy, and respect."

The society's executive director, Jacqueline Mullenger, said the regulator has also received a second, unrelated complaint about Robinson's conduct.

No date for a disciplinary hearing has been set.

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