seminars 2023

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  • Better Use of Visuals – Jennifer Brevorka and Peter Sankoff

    11am MST, Friday, 10 March 2023

    They say a picture is worth 1000 words. But defence lawyers rarely pick up on this maxim, preferring to run trials with documentary evidence and oral submissions only. There are many advantages to including visuals in your written materials, and also in court. What are the rules governing their use, and how can they be deployed effectively? Find out in this exciting seminar.


    Jennifer (Jenny) Brevorka is nimble courtroom advocate and skilled negotiator who frequently represents officials or executives accused of wrongdoing by their employer, the government, or regulators. As a partner at Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP, she maintains a criminal and civil practice. Before joining Henein Hutchison Robitaille, Jenny served as partner in a Texas trial boutique and successfully defended individuals and corporations in venues across the United States.  Jenny’s American litigation experience includes a bench trial before the Delaware Court of Chancery, criminal jury trials involving multiple defendants in state and federal court, and federal criminal trials with questions of international law.

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  • End of Year “Spectacular” with Peter Sankoff and Steven Penney

    11am MST, Friday, 8 December 2023

    Join the two Profs for their fourth annual End of Year Review, taking look at the jurisprudential highlights and lowlights from 2023. They’ll analyze the key cases, add their insight, and make a few predictions for 2024. Every year, this is one of our most popular seminars. Don’t miss it!

    Steven Penney is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta. Born and raised in Edmonton, he received a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta and a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School. He researches, teaches, and consults in the areas of criminal procedure, evidence, substantive criminal law, privacy, and law and technology. He is co-author of Criminal Procedure in Canada and co-editor of Evidence: A Canadian Casebook, a member of the advisory boards of the Alberta Law Review and Canadian Journal of Law & Justice, and Chair of the Centre for Constitutional Studies advisory board.

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  • Dealing with the Crown: Practice Issues

    11am MST, Friday, 3 November 2023

    In order to succeed as a defence lawyer, you need to figure out how to deal with the Crown. And it isn’t always easy. Time and again, scenarios will arise that test your abilities – and your patience. In this panel seminar, experienced lawyers will address problems that commonly and uncommonly arise, and give you tips on how to best deal with the Crown.

    Join four appellate specialists:

    Peter Sankoff of Sankoff Criminal Law, Neha Chugh of Chugh Law, Gloria Ng of Platform Litigation and Brian Pfefferle of Pfefferle Law for this entertaining and edifying seminar.

    Neha Chugh

    Neha Chugh is a criminal lawyer at Chugh Law, which she started in 2014 in Cornwall, Ontario. Neha also serves as the prosecutor in the Akwesasne Court, assists with provincial offences prosecutions
    with the City of Cornwall, and is an instructor at Iohahi:io Akwesasne Education & Training Institute.
    Neha is also on the Board of Governors for the Law Commission of Ontario and is the 2022 recipient of the Catzman Award for civility and professionalism in the profession.


    Gloria Ng

    Gloria Ng is one of the co-founders of Platform Litigation in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gloria has represented clients facing murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking, kidnapping and unlawful confinement to charges like fraud, assault, and mischief.
    As part of her trial practice, Gloria regularly mounts constitutional challenges in areas such as: Search and Seizure, Unlawful Arrest and Detention, Right to Counsel and Right to Silence. Gloria also has extensive experience in challenging the evidence of informant and cooperating Crown witnesses as well as challenging technological evidence (cellular and computer data).

    Brian Pfefferle

    Brian Pfefferle focuses on Criminal Defence and regularly appears in jury and non-jury trials, preliminary inquiries, bail hearings, sentencing hearings and appeals.

    He has appeared before a number of administrative tribunals, Professional Discipline Hearing Committees (representing engineers, financial advisors, physicians, accountants, realtors, and other lawyers), the National Parole Board, the Supreme Court of Canada, all levels of Saskatchewan Court and in the Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia and Ontario Provincial and Superior Courts. He is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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  • So, You Want to Argue an Appeal – Part II

    11am MST, Friday, 6 October 2023

    Making the jump from law school mooting to full on appellate work isn’t easy. There are so many aspects of the appeal process that cause difficulty for counsel making the transition. Appeals use a different language, and there are plenty of procedural complications. In this seminar, designed for those new or relatively new to appeals, Professor Sankoff will provide tips for making the transition seamlessly, with points on procedure, the writing of a factum, and oral appellate advocacy.

    This is Part II of the seminar on appellate advocacy. The focus will be oral advocacy, and how to excel in that area.

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  • Best Practices with the Media: The High Profile Trial

    11am MST, Friday, 8 September 2023

    For many criminal lawyers, the scariest part of a high profile trial isn’t the case itself – it’s the sudden requests from the media. How should you respond to these questions? What are the ethical limitations? What is the media’s “agenda”, and what’s the difference between “off the record”, “on background” and “please don’t quote me!” In this seminar, three panelists will talk about what you need to know when talking to the media. Our panelists include:

    Scott Hutchinson, partner at Henein Hutchinson Robitaille, who has been part of some of this country’s biggest criminal trials, and who frequently represents high-profile clients with an interest in having their story told; Jana Pruden, Globe and Mail, will provide the media’s perspective on these interactions; and Tess Layton of Reynolds Mirth Richards & Farmer LLP, who specializes in media work.

    Join us for a fascinating seminar that will help you protect yourself and advance your clients’ interests correctly.

    Scott Hutchinson

    Scott Hutchinson is a is a partner at Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP. His practice includes complex civil, criminal, regulatory and constitutional litigation, with a particular interest in white collar crime and appellate advocacy. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute and has been recognized in Best Lawyers in Canada for Appellate Law and Criminal Defence and for in Chambers Canada in Dispute Resolution. He was appointed by the Attorney General and the Law Foundation of Ontario to the province’s Class Proceedings Committee.

    Jana Pruden

    Jana Pruden is an award-winning feature writer at The Globe and Mail.
    She is the former crime bureau chief of the Edmonton Journal, and previously worked at the Regina Leader-Post, the Medicine Hat News, the Prairie Post and the Interlake Spectator. She is also a sessional journalism instructor at MacEwan University and a presenter at Pandemic University Pop-Up School of Writing.


    Tess Layton

    Tess Layton’s practice involves media and defamation law, privacy law, constitutional law, commercial litigation and administrative law. Tess has experience advising and defending journalists and media organizations of all sizes, ranging from local and regional news outlets to major national and international broadcasters. She also acts for media entities, individuals, and corporations in relation to defamation claims brought in Alberta and elsewhere in Canada.

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  • Going below the range: using social context evidence to get results in sentencing- Chris Rudnicki and Theresa Donkor

    11am MST, Friday, 9 June 2023

    The modern sentencing trilogy – Lacasse, Friesen, and Parranto – are frequently cited by Crown attorneys to justify higher sentences in drunk driving, sexual assault, and fentanyl trafficking cases. But read together, they stand for a powerful and defence-friendly sentencing proposition: a trial judge is free to impose a sentence well below the range where they feel it is proportionate to the circumstances of the offence and offender. In this seminar, Chris Rudnicki and Theresa Donkor explain how they achieved the result in R v Kelly, 2022 ONSC 5500: a conditional sentence for an offender convicted of imposing 1 kg of cocaine. In particular, they discuss the potential for social context evidence to justify unusually low sentences.

    Chris Rudnicki is lead counsel at Rudnicki & Company, a criminal defence firm in Toronto. He specializes in criminal law and has experience in complex, serious, and precedent-setting cases at every level of court. Chris began his career as a trial lawyer, shifting to appellate work in 2019. Though most of Chris’s work today consists of indictable appeals to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, he maintains a small trial, regulatory defence, and animal law practice. Chris sees his law practice as a means of achieving just results for individual clients while contributing to the progressive development of the legal system as a whole.

    Theresa Donkor is associate counsel at Rudnicki & Company. She practices criminal defence, with a focus on appeals from conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. She also acts for lawyers in professional disciplinary proceedings. Theresa’s practice focuses on racial justice. She has advocated for lower sentences to account for systemic anti-Black racism, the need to account for disproportionately harsh jail conditions faced by racialized prisoners, and the importance of cultural competence when representing Black defendants. Theresa sees herself first and foremost as an advocate and works tirelessly to deliver the best results for her clients.

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  • The Confessions Rule – Part 1 – Steven Penney

    11am MST, Friday, 12 May 2023

    Professor Penney will examine the latest developments in the law of confessions, including the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in R v Tessier, the meaning of the “person in authority” requirement, operating mind, inducements, oppression, voir dire procedures, derived confessions, corroboration, and the “Mr. Big” rule.

    Steven Penney is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta. Born and raised in Edmonton, he received a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta and a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School. He researches, teaches, and consults in the areas of criminal procedure, evidence, substantive criminal law, privacy, and law and technology. He is co-author of Criminal Procedure in Canada and co-editor of Evidence: A Canadian Casebook, a member of the advisory boards of the Alberta Law Review and Canadian Journal of Law & Justice, and Chair of the Centre for Constitutional Studies advisory board.

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  • Sentencing Tool Kit – Paul Moreau

    12pm MST, Friday, 3 February 2023

    No defence lawyer likes to see a client convicted, but the trial is only half the battle. Sentence hearings have their own rules and require special preparation. Paul Moreau is a former Crown, now a defence lawyer, and teaches sentencing at the University of Alberta. There isn’t much he has not seen. Join him for an informative look at how to best prepare for a contested sentence hearing.

    Paul Moreau has focused his practice on criminal defence since 2001. He argues his cases both at the trial and appeal levels, appearing in all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He also sits on several committees with Legal Aid Alberta and the Alberta Courts. He is also a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, teaching Sentencing Law since 2017.

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  • Using Section 7 of the Charter to Challenge Prison Conditions – Adelina Iftene

    11am MST, Friday, 20 October 2023

    In this seminar, drawing upon her empirical work with incarcerated people, as well as on the relevant s. 7 jurisprudence and scholarship, Dr. Adelina Iftene will explore the ways in which s. 7 of the Charter may be used as a litigation tool in challenging prison conditions of confinement. The presentation will cover some social science evidence documenting the inadequacies of conditions and treatment in federal and provincial prisons, their impact on incarcerated people, the potential sources of a s. 7 breach in this context, and how various principles of fundamental justice may be engaged. Some s. 1 issues will also be covered in the presentation. The presentation will be example-heavy, with focus especially on inadequate prison health care.

    Dr. Adelina Iftene is an Assistant Professor and the Criminal Justice Specialization Coordinator at Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, as well as the Associate Director of the Health Law Institute at Dalhousie. Adelina teaches and conducts research in the areas of criminal law, evidence, sentencing and imprisonment and prison policy. Her book “Punished for Aging: Vulnerabilities, Rights, and Access to Justice in Canadian Penitentiaries,” was published by University of Toronto Press in 2019. She is also the co-author of the Annual Review of Criminal Law (Thomson Reuters).

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