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Archive for ‘Case Comment’

Objection? Filing a Settlement Reached in Another Jurisdiction

When can a party put into evidence a settlement reached between the parties, and to what end? In most cases, the answer is never. Not only are parties generally careful to insert a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement, but in many cases, the relevance of a related settlement is doubtful to say the least. The situation is different in class action matters, where parties will inevitably have to publicize any settlement that has been reached, its terms and the amounts the Respondent has agreed to pay. Just last month, the Quebec Superior Court rendered a judgment in Cunning v. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Quebec Superior Court Invalidates Certain Provisions of the Pay Equity Act

A coalition of unions led by the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) has won a court challenge against certain provisions of the 2009 reform of Quebec’s Pay Equity Act. The provisions in question require employers subject to the Act to audit pay equity in their businesses every five years, but not continuously. In other words, since 2009, Quebec employers have been required to perform a pay equity audit at the end of each five-year period, prepare a list of events that generated wage adjustments (e.g., promotions), and only pay the wage adjustments due at that time rather than when the adjustments occurred. The first audits would have taken place this year.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Fired for Being Too Pretty

I have wanted to write about this case for a while now, but waited to see if it would be appealed any further after last summer’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling. Unfortunately, it has not.

On December 21, 2012, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously upheld the district court’s decision that firing a female employee because she is too attractive does not violate the state’s Civil Rights Act. In that specific case, James Knight, a dentist, fired his dental assistant of ten years, Melissa Nelson, solely on the basis that he had become attracted to her and she had become a threat . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Real Estate Broker’s Failure to Disclose That It Was Acting for Both Buyer and Seller Results in Forfeit of Nearly $18,000 Commission

Justice Pollak of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled that a real estate broker is not entitled to nearly $18,000 in commission as a result of its failure to notify the seller that the broker was acting for the buyer as well.

Royal Lepage (Partners Realty Ltd.) sued the defendant, Ms. Morrow, for $17,788.75 representing commission payable pursuant to a listing agreement that Morrow signed with Royal Lepage.

Ms. Morrow entered into a listing agreement with Royal Lepage and subsequently entered into an agreement of purchase and sale with a purchaser that was brought to Ms. Morrow through . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Protection Against Copyright Infringement Strengthened by Robinson Case but at What Cost

On December 23, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered an important decision on copyright infringement in Cinar Corp. v. Robinson. The Court affirmed the trial judge’s finding that Cinar infringed Claude Robinson’s intellectual property and allowed a considerable increase in the monetary relief the Quebec Court of Appeal awarded Robinson.
Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Bedford: A Significant but Cautious Victory

The Supreme Court of Canada’s much-anticipated decision in Canada (Attorney General) v Bedford (Bedford) represents an important victory for sex workers’ rights. Although there is a long road ahead in terms of implementation, which will be peppered with contentious debates about the role of the state in the regulation of sex work and the legitimacy of sex work as labour, it is important to pause and look at the decision with a critical lens, taking into account the symbolic significance of this landmark case. Simultaneously, the Court’s decision also highlights serious concerns regarding the attainment of civil liberties on the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

A Comment on Bedford

The Supreme Court of Canada was unanimous: our prostitution laws do more harm than good. The laws take a lawful activity and make it more dangerous. It is an important victory for sex workers and their allies who support decriminalization. But, the political battle has only just begun.

Three criminal laws were at issue: the laws preventing bawdy houses or brothels (s.210), living on the avails of prostitution (s.212(1)(j)) and communicating in public for the purposes of prostitution (s.213)(1)( c)). Each law, according to the Court, increases the risks faced by sex workers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

French Veil Ban Goes to European Court of Human Rights

On November 27, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights held a Grand Chamber hearing (which was broadcast on the Internet) in the case of S.A.S v. France (Application no 43835/11). The case concerns a French Muslim woman’s complaint that French law prohibits her from wearing a full-face veil in public. As of April 2011, French Law no. 2010-1192 prohibits concealment of one’s face in all places open to the public in France. The penalty for breaking the law is a fine of up to €150 and/or compulsory citizenship classes. Separate penalties are provided for anyone forcing a woman to conceal her face in public.
Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Court of Appeal Says Private School’s Decision to Expel Pot Smoking Student Not Subject to Judicial Review

The Court of Appeal has unanimously ruled that a private school’s decision to expel a student is not subject to judicial review.

In September, 2012, the Divisional Court quashed Appleby College’s decision to expel a student on his last day of high school for smoking pot in his residence. A quick refresher on the facts of the case can be found in a post I wrote last November.

In a nutshell, Mr. Setia was caught smoking pot in his residence at Appleby College (a prestigious Ontario private high school) on the day before his final exam of high school. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Lawyers and Their Clients: Who’s in Charge?

Lawyers who practice family law in Winnipeg are familiar with the Tuesday morning motions court, known as the “zoo” for reasons that will soon be obvious. For those unfamiliar with this docket court, the recent decision of Associate Chief Justice Rivoalen in Skinner v. Skinner is instructive:

[10] There is a lot going on as the Family Motions Coordinator, parties and their lawyers navigate their way through the typical Family Uncontested Motions melée, and not only because there are so many matters on the List. Moreover, the Court’s registry staff, clerks, sheriffs, stand-by master and judges are fully engaged….


. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Good Reasons for Giving Reasons

Administrative tribunals, in making decisions, are sometimes required by legislation to provide reasons for their decisions. Even where there is no legislative requirement to give reasons, principles of procedural fairness may require that a written explanation be provided for the decision reached (see Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 1999 CanLII 699 (SCC).)

While one might presume the question of when reasons are required would have been well-settled since addressed by the Supreme Court in Baker, Manitoba’s Court of Appeal has twice this year addressed that question, in both cases, in appeals from decisions of The . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Are Reports to the Police Protected From Defamation Suits?

Preserving one’s reputation is a fine value – and one that the law of libel strives to protect. But it’s not absolute, and the law recognizes that some communications are so important that they must trump reputation. That’s why communications that enjoy privilege are defensible in defamation cases. So is there a qualified privilege when reporting relevant information to the police in good faith, protecting the individual reporting the information from a libel suit. The answer is Yes.
Posted in: Case Comment, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions