Rocco Galati

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Rocco Galati

Rocco Galati (born 1959) is an Italian-born Canadian lawyer who specializes in cases involving constitutional law and also suspects of terrorism.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Galati was born in Calabria, Italy and his family immigrated to Canada in 1965.[2] He graduated from McGill University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts and then graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1987.


After his Call to the bar he worked at the federal Department of Justice.

Criminal cases[edit]

In 2001, Galati defended Delmart Vreeland at trial.[3]

Galati was Abdurahman Khadr's first lawyer.[4] In late 2003, Galati resigned from all national security cases after being the target of death threats.[4] Galati said a threat left on his answering machine stated: "Well, Mr. Galati. What's this I hear about you working with the terrorist now, helping to get that (expletive) punk terrorist Khadr off. You a dead wop." Galati requested 24-hour surveillance of his house; when the RCMP refused to provide this, he declared that "we now live in Colombia because the rule of law is meaningless" and later indicated he believed the call came from American intelligence. Mr Galati went on to claim: '"The voice is similar and likely the same as a voice of someone who threatened one of our former clients," he said, adding later that "in that case, our client disappeared."'[5] Galati later characterized the threats as "institutional" and "governmental" but did not elaborate.[4]

In 2006, Galati represented Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, a suspect in the 2006 Ontario terrorism plot.[6] In 2008, charges were stayed against Ghany and three other defendants.[6]

Nadon challenge[edit]

On October 7, 2013, Galati brought a court application that challenged the appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada on the basis of Nadon being ineligible as under the Quebec provisions of the Supreme Court Act.[7][8][9] The Act requires that three members of the Supreme Court be from Quebec. The Quebec government announced that it would also challenge Nadon's appointment.[9]

The government responded to Galati's application on October 22, 2013 by amending the Supreme Court Act and bringing a reference question to the Supreme Court.[9] Galati was granted intervenor status at the hearing.[9]

On March 21, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Reference Re Supreme Court Act, ss 5 and 6 that Nadon was ineligible under the Quebec provisions of the Act, and that changes to the Act required unanimous constitutional amendment.[9][10] Nadon's appointment was voided.[10] The court did not accept Galati's argument that federal court judges from Quebec are not eligible for appointment to the permanent Quebec seats on the Supreme Court of Canada.[8] Galati agreed to end his own legal challenge following the ruling.[11]

The Federal Court of Canada later awarded Galati $5,000 for his fees in bringing his application.[11] Galati appealed, arguing he should be awarded $51,706.54 for his time spent arguing the case.[11] The Federal Court of Appeal disagreed, and issued a sharply worded decision that compared his arguments to the "gonzo logic of the Vietnam War era."[11][12] The court ruled that Galati and his legal partner Paul Slansky were not legally successful in their application, even if they may have initiated a series of events leading to the reference question.[11] Galati and Slansky were ordered to pay $1,000 in legal costs to the government.[11]

Mainville challenge[edit]

After the Supreme Court ruled against the Nadon appointment, in June 2014 Galati brought an application challenging the appointment of Justice Robert Mainville to the Quebec Court of Appeal.[13]

Bank of Canada case[edit]

In 2011, Galati brought a case against the Canadian government to restore the Bank of Canada as a lender to the government.[14] The case was brought on behalf of the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform.[14] COMER argued that the Bank of Canada is mandated to provide debt-free financing for public projects undertaken by federal, provincial and municipal governments.[14]

COMER's claims were struck five times by the courts. On May 4, 2017 the Supreme Court dismissed COMER'S application for leave to appeal the most recent decision. [15]

On February 8 2016 Justice Russell struck COMER's amended claim in its entirety and refused leave to amend the claim. Costs were awarded to the crown. In his ruling, Justice Russell stated " their response convinces me that, for reasons given, they have no scintilla of a cause of action that this Court can or should hear." [16]

On March 3, 2016 COMER filed a notice of appeal with the Court of Appeal. [15]

On December 7, 2016 the appeal was dismissed. [17] On May 4, 2017 the Supreme Court dismissed COMER's application for leave to appeal this decision. [18]


  1. ^ "Nadon challenger Rocco Galati wonders why he had to clean up 'mess'". 21 March 2014.
  2. ^ The lawyer who challenged the Harper government and won The Globe and Mail
  3. ^ USA V. Vreeland Three Archived 2007-02-24 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c "Lawyer who defended a Khadr and challenged Nadon appointment did it all to mess with the 'government machine'". National Post. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  5. ^ Terror suspect lawyer quits cases over threat, Toronto Star, December 5, 2003
  6. ^ a b Teotonio, Isabel (2008-04-15). "Charges have been stayed against four adults accused of belonging to a home-grown terror cell, three of whom were required to sign peace-bonds in a Brampton court this morning". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  7. ^ Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press (10 November 2013). "Harper's sixth Supreme Court nomination leads to rare legal mess at top bench". National Post.
  8. ^ a b "CanLII - 2014 SCC 21 (CanLII)".
  9. ^ a b c d e "The failed Supreme Court nomination of Marc Nadon: How it happened". CBC News. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  10. ^ a b "Stephen Harper's Supreme Court pick Marc Nadon ruled not eligible". CBC News. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Court Slams Lawyers Who Challenged Harper's Top Court Pick". The Huffington Post. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  12. ^ Perkel, Colin. "Court slams 'gonzo logic' in nixing money claim over Harper judge battle". Times Colonist. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  13. ^ "Lawyer who sank Nadon's Supreme Court appointment challenges Quebec court pick". Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  14. ^ a b c Whittington, Les (2015-03-23). "Renowned Toronto lawyer brings unusual case to change the way Canada's central bank operates". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  15. ^ a b "COMMITTEE FOR MONETARY AND ECONOMIC REFORM ("COMER") ET AL v. HMQ ET AL". Federal Court Proceedings. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  16. ^ "Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) v. The Queen, 2016 FCA 147 (CanLII)". Canadian Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  17. ^ "Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform v. Canada". Federal Court of Appeal. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  18. ^ "Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform v. Canada". Supreme Court of Canada. Retrieved 2017-05-04.