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Former Saskatoon mayoral candidate launches defamation suit against Law Society

Mark Zielke alleges the Law Society failed to update its communications to reflect the appeal process surrounding his ability to practice law.

 


PHOTO: MATT SMITH /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

 
 

In 2019, a Queen’s Bench judge ordered self-described “advocate for justice” Mark Zielke to stop practising law without a licence. He successfully appealed the injunction order, and alleges the Law Society of Saskatchewan defamed him by failing to update its communications to reflect the appeal process.

A former Saskatoon mayoral candidate and self-described “advocate for justice” is suing the Law Society of Saskatchewan for more than $1 million, alleging it failed to communicate the appeal process surrounding his ability to practice law without a licence.

In a statement of claim filed on March 9 at Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench, Mark Zielke alleges his entrepreneurial businesses have suffered because of the defendant’s defamatory and/or negligent actions, citing an income loss of more than $4,000 per month.

Statements of claim include allegations that have not been proven in court.

In December 2021, The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned a Saskatoon Queen’s Bench injunction order that prevented Zielke, who is not a lawyer, from representing people in traffic court, small claims court and the office of residential tenancies.

In 2019, Justice Brian Scherman found that Zielke contravened The Legal Profession Act, rejecting his argument that sections of the Summary Offences Procedure Act and the Small Claims Act permit non-lawyers to act as paid agents.

The appeal judges ruled the provisions of those acts operate as an exception to the prohibition under the Legal Profession Act, and do not specify that the agent cannot be paid.

Zielke’s statement of claim indicates the Law Society, which sought the injunction order, was aware that he had filed a notice of appeal.

In the claim, he alleges the Law Society proceeded to notify members of the legal community about the injunction order — including posting a blog on its website in 2020 — without referencing the pending appeal process.

“Due to this posting and as a result of the other actions of the Defendant, it became well known to the general public that the Injunction Order was in place and that the general public viewed the Plaintiff as having breached the law,” the claim states.

The civil tort of defamation refers to wrongfully damaging a person’s reputation through the communication of false information to a third party.

Zielke alleges that for 13 months, the Law Society did not update its blog post to reflect the pending appeal, and did not include the appeal decision until Jan. 12, more than a month after it was issued. He also alleges the Law Society refused or neglected his repeated requests to notify the legal community of the appeal decision, just as they had the injunction order.

“The omission of these details has caused irreparable harm to the Plaintiff, his business ventures, and his political career,” the claim states.

Zielke was a mayoral candidate in the 2020 civic election, during his appeal process.

He alleges the Law Society continued to defame him in a news media interview after the appeal decision by making “no attempt to clarify the fact that the Plaintiff was welcomed to attend Traffic Court and Small Claims Court.”

The suit seeks $1 million in punitive or exemplary damages for “breach of the duty of good faith,” $150,000 in general damages, $112,000 in special or consequential damages and $100,000 in aggravated damages for “mental distress, loss of reputation and inability to secure alternative employment.”

The Law Society indicated that as of Friday, it had not been served with the statement of claim.

bmcadam@postmedia.com

twitter.com/breezybremc

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PHOTO: MATT SMITH /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

 
 

In 2019, a Queen’s Bench judge ordered self-described “advocate for justice” Mark Zielke to stop practising law without a licence. He successfully appealed the injunction order, and alleges the Law Society of Saskatchewan defamed him by failing to update its communications to reflect the appeal process.

A former Saskatoon mayoral candidate and self-described “advocate for justice” is suing the Law Society of Saskatchewan for more than $1 million, alleging it failed to communicate the appeal process surrounding his ability to practice law without a licence.

In a statement of claim filed on March 9 at Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench, Mark Zielke alleges his entrepreneurial businesses have suffered because of the defendant’s defamatory and/or negligent actions, citing an income loss of more than $4,000 per month.

Statements of claim include allegations that have not been proven in court.

In December 2021, The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned a Saskatoon Queen’s Bench injunction order that prevented Zielke, who is not a lawyer, from representing people in traffic court, small claims court and the office of residential tenancies.

In 2019, Justice Brian Scherman found that Zielke contravened The Legal Profession Act, rejecting his argument that sections of the Summary Offences Procedure Act and the Small Claims Act permit non-lawyers to act as paid agents.

The appeal judges ruled the provisions of those acts operate as an exception to the prohibition under the Legal Profession Act, and do not specify that the agent cannot be paid.

Zielke’s statement of claim indicates the Law Society, which sought the injunction order, was aware that he had filed a notice of appeal.

In the claim, he alleges the Law Society proceeded to notify members of the legal community about the injunction order — including posting a blog on its website in 2020 — without referencing the pending appeal process.

“Due to this posting and as a result of the other actions of the Defendant, it became well known to the general public that the Injunction Order was in place and that the general public viewed the Plaintiff as having breached the law,” the claim states.

The civil tort of defamation refers to wrongfully damaging a person’s reputation through the communication of false information to a third party.

Zielke alleges that for 13 months, the Law Society did not update its blog post to reflect the pending appeal, and did not include the appeal decision until Jan. 12, more than a month after it was issued. He also alleges the Law Society refused or neglected his repeated requests to notify the legal community of the appeal decision, just as they had the injunction order.

“The omission of these details has caused irreparable harm to the Plaintiff, his business ventures, and his political career,” the claim states.

Zielke was a mayoral candidate in the 2020 civic election, during his appeal process.

He alleges the Law Society continued to defame him in a news media interview after the appeal decision by making “no attempt to clarify the fact that the Plaintiff was welcomed to attend Traffic Court and Small Claims Court.”

The suit seeks $1 million in punitive or exemplary damages for “breach of the duty of good faith,” $150,000 in general damages, $112,000 in special or consequential damages and $100,000 in aggravated damages for “mental distress, loss of reputation and inability to secure alternative employment.”

The Law Society indicated that as of Friday, it had not been served with the statement of claim.

bmcadam@postmedia.com

twitter.com/breezybremc

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