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Black Sheep Out – Switzerland and Direct Democracy

In another act of direct democracy, 52.9% of the Swiss voting public yesterday approved a referendum proposal to automatically expel foreigners convicted of various crimes. The Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police press release reads, in part, as follows:

The people and the cantons have today adopted the popular initiative on the expulsion of foreign criminals. In future, foreign nationals who have committed one of the criminal offences named in the text of the initiative should automatically lose their right of residence and be deported to their country of origin. Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga will set to work on

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Switzerland Bans Minarets

Just as we were thinking the Texas ban on unions “identical…to marriage” and the Ugandan proposal to severely punish homosexuals were the loony tunes of the moment, here comes a Swiss miss: A right wing proposal to ban minarets in Switzerland, put to the people in a referendum, was a few minutes ago approved by “a majority of the Swiss people and the cantons . . .”

According to an announcement on the Federal Chancellery website:

The Federal Council respects this decision. Consequently the construction of new minarets in Switzerland is no longer permitted. The four existing minarets will remain.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Maybe Bill C-7 Meets the Letter of the Law, but Does It Meet the Spirit?

The federal government has now introduced changes to its legislation on medical assistance in dying (MAiD) in response to the Truchon decision. The existing Criminal Code provisions, enacted after the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Carter, had been criticised on several grounds, particularly in requiring death to be “reasonably foreseeable” before someone is eligible for medical assistance in dying. The 2019 Quebec Superior Court decision in Truchon held that the foreseeability requirement in the Criminal Code and the parallel Quebec provision in that province’s End-of-Life Care Act are unconstitutional. The government’s Bill C-7 is in response to Truchon . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

The Gift to Law Publishing of the English Language

As someone of relatively proud Irish and Italian heritage, among others, no doubt, and while daily rejoicing in the good fortune of being able to have the City of London, England, as my primary place of work and residence, nevertheless, I would not necessarily put England and “Englishness” at the top of any preference lists. I value my many English friends, family members, colleagues, neighbours and acquaintances enormously and with much affection but I rate the place, apart from London, its history, traditions, political structures and culture, no higher than those of any other great country; I am . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

TORY the Robot and Other Highlights From the IALL Conference in Luxembourg

The IALL conference is one of my favorite meetings to attend. The International Association of Law Libraries’ 37th Annual Course on International Law and Legal Information took place in Luxembourg, from Sunday, September 30, to Wednesday, October 3. I’d never been to Luxembourg before, but will make up any excuse to go again! The theme was “Law in Luxembourg – Where Local Tradition Meets European and International Innovation.” The programme for the 2018 IALL meeting was wonderful as usual – educational, enlightening, and entertaining. I met a robot, TORY! I encourage everyone, even though you do not specialize in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Election Politics, Innovation Canada, IP, and Dependence Upon the Standards Council of Canada

Some in-depth investigative journalism is needed because there has been a further danger-augmenting development in regard to the creation of National Standards of Canada (NSCs) as that behavior relates to the federal government’s high profile, Budget 2017 declaration of the creation of Innovation Canada. Its Fact Sheet, Skills, Innovation and Middle Class Jobs, states inter alia, “Budget 2017’s Innovation and Skills Plan advances an agenda to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation, to help create more good, well-paying jobs, and help strengthen and grow the middle class.”

I say “further development,” because I described that behavior . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Justice Innovation Lessons of 2017

What did 2017 bring? Lots of hard work, but was the dial on justice innovation moved?

Let me briefly beat my drum again why I we must ask this question every year; ministers of justice, chief justices, MPs, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, justice NGOs, tax payers, voters, and revolutionaries.

The past few months, the organisation I run, HiiL, put all the data that it has collected on justice needs and experiences the past four years together. Almost 70.000 voices. Twelve countries. Africa, the Arab world, and Europe. A new Trend Report based on this data will come out in the first . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Quebec’s Religious Neutrality of the State Bill Passed

An amended version of Bill 62, An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests in certain bodies to foster respect for religious neutrality of the state and aimed in particular to frame requests for religious accommodations in certain organizations passed third reading on October 18, 2017, with a vote of 66-51. It is now awaiting royal assent to become law. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Evidence Based Upon National Standards Might Thereby Be Unreliable

I’ve endured a very worrisome and incompetent drafting of an intended second edition of this National Standard of Canada (an NSC): Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence CAN/CGSB-72.34-2005 (“72.34,” developed by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB)). Its intended purpose is, to be Canada’s most authoritative standard as to the proper operation and maintenance of electronic records management systems (ERMSs). Therefore it can be used to test the “integrity” that provisions such as, s. 31.2(1)(a) of the Canada Evidence Act (CEA), and s. 34.1(5),(5.1) of the Ontario Evidence Act (OEA), require of ERMSs, for the purpose of determining the admissibility of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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. HS (Re), 2016 ABQB 121

[104] Her application is not made in a moment of weakness and her desire for physician-assisted death is long-standing. The evidence is that, since her diagnosis, she has explored various options around physician-assisted death. At various points in time she explored going to Switzerland, Basel and Québec. Her friend M.V. confirms this, stating that Ms. S. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Thursday Thinkpiece: Cheung on Search Engine Liability in the Autocomplete Era

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Defaming by Suggestion: Searching for Search Engine Liability in the Autocomplete Era

By Anne S.Y. Cheung, Associate Professor, The University of Hong Kong – Faculty of Law, in “Comparative Perspectives on the Fundamentals of Freedom of Expression” (Andras Koltay, ed.), forthcoming.

Excerpt: pp 1-14

[Footnotes omitted. They can be found . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Options for Implementing Carter: One Lawyer’s Unique Perspective on the Landmark SCC Decision

I recently read a national post article by Dr. Will Johnston. In addition to being a family physician, Dr. Johnston is an anti-euthanasia activist. His article suggests that members of the judiciary would be better positioned to judge whether or not a person is competent to make a life-ending decision than members of the medical profession. I believe there is merit to Dr. Johnston’s point but I do not know if the model Dr. Johnston is proposing would be an appropriate one. Members of the judiciary may have similar issues in making competency. This is because, for the most part, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues