Canada’s online legal magazine.

Prioritizing Racial Diversity in Judicial Appointments

Diversity matters. Not just for the optics of it, or because it’s the right thing to do.

Having diversity at the heads of our social institutions, especially our judiciary, actually helps them do a better job. Diverse experiences, as a Canadian and as a lawyer, provide unique insights that other judges simply do not have. If you dispute that notion, it’s better saved for another day.

Today we’re dealing with a government that has made a commitment to diversity in the judiciary. The problem is that those commitments already appear contradictory.

Although the lack of racial diversity in Canada . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

FAMILLE : Le père ne peut, dans son propre dossier de divorce avec la mère, exiger l’intervention de l’intimé, qui a été marié à cette dernière et qui aurait agi in loco parentis auprès de l’enfant adopté par les parties, pour diminuer ou annuler sa propre obligation alimentaire envers son . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Influence of Quebec Case Law in the ROC: The Situation and Stakes of the Translation of Judgments

Last fall, Leader of the Bar and former Chief Justice of Quebec, Mtre Michel Robert, gave a lecture on the language of judgments. His remarks were reported in the February 2016 edition of the Journal du Barreau. Upset about the lack of visibility of Quebec case law outside this province, Mtre Robert claimed that the reputations of the Quebec Court of Appeal and Superior Court suffer disastrously because their judgments are not translated.

I think these remarks deserve a closer look, one that takes into account the joint effort of the Quebec judiciary and SOQUIJ to promote Quebec case . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Law Library of Congress Report on Miranda Warning Equivalents Around the World

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. published a report a little while ago about Miranda Warning Equivalents in more than 100 countries around the world, including Canada.

In the United States, so-called Miranda rights are named after the US Supreme Court decision of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966) that determined that a person detained by law enforcement and interrogated must be made aware of the right to remain silent, the right to consult with an attorney and have the attorney present during questioning, and the right to have an attorney appointed if they can’t afford one. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Access to Justice? Yes in My Back Yard.

The past few months have seen some inspiring firsts for access to justice in Ontario. Ryerson University’s Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ) launched the Ontario Access to Justice Challenge with support from the Ministry of the Attorney General. The challenge brings an entrepreneurial approach to access to justice improvements by offering seed funding to six start-up companies that “are building products and solutions that challenge the status quo of legal services” in Ontario. It’s exciting to think about this new terrain of “start-up justice” and encouraging to see government take such a proactive role in its advancement.

Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Rio Olympics Social Media Guidelines

It seems that dubbing major sporting events the “largest social media event ever” is even trendier than the social networking platforms themselves, and Rio 2016 is no exception. All hype aside, the Rio Olympics haven’t reinvented the wheel, and seem to impose similar restrictions as their predecessors.

The IOC describes appropriate uses and prohibitions in their Social and Digital Media Guidelines. All accredited individuals (athletes, coaches, and officials) who are not accredited as media are allowed to “share their experience at the Games through internet or any other type of social and digital media, provided that it . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Wagg Motions: Is There a Better Way?

In 2004, the Ontario Court of Appeal released the decision D.P. v Wagg, 2004 CanLII 39048 (Wagg). And with it birthed an entirely new bureaucracy devoted to Wagg motions.

In Wagg, the defendant was charged criminally for sexually assaulting his gynecological patient, referred to as D.P. D.P. then sued her doctor civilly for sexual assault. In the civil proceeding, D.P. wanted the defendant to disclose the contents of the Crown Brief, which was produced to him in the criminal action. The defendant refused to produce the Crown Brief to her. The plaintiff then brought a motion . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., 2016 SCC 29

[1] At common law, a non-unionized employee could be dismissed without reasons if he or she was given reasonable notice or pay in lieu. The issue in this appeal is whether Parliament’s intention behind amendments to the Canada Labour Code[1] in 1978 was to offer an alternative statutory scheme consisting of . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

‘On Progresse’ in Tunesia

Avenue Bourghiba was closed off. A statute of the founding president of Tunisia on horseback was being reinstated in the square. The current President Essebsi was going to inaugurate it in two days. The taxi dropped me off as close as he could get. Hotel Africa is a high seventies hotel with large wooden panels, brown carpets, and huge chandeliers. As I made my way, urban Tunisia walked by and ordered drinks on the terraces: hip youngsters, women with blond hair, women with headscarves, families, groups of boys, and groups of older men.

Kalthoum picked me up later and we . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Stress and Solutions: An Update From the Lawyers Assistance Program of B.C.

Derek Lacroix, QC has been at the helm of the Lawyers Assistance Program of British Columbia (LAPBC) since December, 1996. LAPBC provides confidential outreach, education, support and referrals to distressed members of the bar. Their clients and volunteers include judges, lawyers, articling students, paralegals, legal assistants, support staff and other members of the legal community.

How have the stresses, issues or crises that LAPBC assists with changed in recent years?

The nature of the issues has changed, as has the range. Take alcohol addiction for example. We saw a lot of severe crises associated with substance abuse and addiction in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Of Merit and Diversity in Judicial Appointments

With Justice Cromwell’s surprise decision to resign this September, the Federal Liberals promising reform of Supreme Court appointments, and recent media discussion around the political edges of judicial appointments, The Law Society of BC yesterday offered recommendations to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould promoting four core principles for the judicial appointment process. They are: “transparency; judicial independence; merit and diversity; and public participation.”

The July 18, 2016 announcement references the report from a recently formed subcommittee of the Law Society of BC’s Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee, titled “Principles for the Appointment of Justices to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing

Note Up Legislation, Not Just Case Law
Susannah Tredwell

My tip follows up on Bronwyn’s recent tip about noting up case law. Noting up legislation allows you to see how courts have interpreted a specific piece of legislation; generally the court refers to a section or sections of an act or regulation rather than the entire thing. The fact that legislation is constantly changing does . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday