I’m current reading (and loving) the book “What if?” by Randall Monroe of xkcd fame. The subtitle tells you what the book is about: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. As with xkcd itself, the beauty of the book is the depth of thought and extrapolation beyond the facile that goes in to answering such questions as “what would happen if everybody on earth jumped at the same time” or “what would happen if a baseball pitcher threw the ball at 9/10 the speed of light”? I’m inspired in this column to pose my own “what . . . [more]
Archive for the ‘Justice Issues’ Columns
As a Bencher of the Law Society of BC, I voted against the accreditation of TWU Law on two occasions—first in the original Benchers’ debate on the subject in April, and then again in September following a Special General Meeting of BC’s lawyers. Both votes were defeated.
Between the two votes, I penned a Slaw column entitled TWU Law and the New Segregation. It was lauded in some corners for capturing the evolved public interest in equal treatment of LGBTQ people, and panned in others for being long on emotion and short on analytical rigor. The latter view noted . . . [more]
When I sat down to write this post, it was going in a whole different direction. Given the hot topics of innovation and the future of the legal industry, I was thinking I might add to the growing discussions around the recommendations of the CBA Futures Report (see here, here and here).
Then, about half way down the social media rabbit hole I was following as part of my “blog research”, I came across this interview (thanks @karenskinner) with Alex Novarese, editor-in-Chief of Legal Business, discussing the future of the legal industry in the UK. In the interview . . . [more]
This summer’s conflict in Gaza and southern Israel was wrenching. Day after day it did not let up. Rockets launched from Gaza. Relentless aerial bombardment by Israeli forces in Gaza. More rockets from Gaza. Missiles and ground assaults by Israeli forces. All of that in a wider context of serious and longstanding human rights violations, including the collective punishment of the Gaza blockade; and very legitimate security concerns. Against this loud and angry backdrop the toll on civilians, overwhelmingly Palestinian civilians, was heartbreaking. In a corner of the world that has been enmeshed in decades of repression, terrorism, reprisal, defence . . . [more]
On June 17, 2014, several environmental groups in New Brunswick circulated for comment a draft environmental bill of rights for children. Called “A Bill of Rights to Protect Children’s Health from Environmental Hazards,” it is the first of its kind in Canada. If passed, the law would confer on every child “the right to protection from environmental hazards,” meaning
a hazard that impairs or damages the environment or changes the environment in a manner that may threaten human health, including physical and mental well-being, and includes a “contaminant” as defined by the Clean Environment Act;
It is unlikely that when Canadian rockers Headstones released the song “When Something Stands for Nothing” in 1993 that they did so as a political comment on the continuing relevance of the Magna Carta to the laws of the United Kingdom and her colonies. So I may have been in alone in thinking of this song when reading a David Allen Green blog post on the Financial Times site entitled “The myth of the Magna Carta”. Mr. Green (lawyer, blogger, author and popular legal Twitterer under the handle @JackofKent) describes the most referenced of the three . . . [more]
Two weeks ago, the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters released the Colloquium Report. This document captures the action-oriented strategies, reforms and innovations from leaders in the access to justice field in response to the recommendations made by the Action Committee in their final report, A Roadmap for Change (see a SLAW summary here).
One of the institutional and structural goals discussed in the Colloquium Report was to “Create Local and National Access to Justice Implementation Mechanisms”, such as the recently-formed Access to Justice Co-ordinating Committee in Nova Scotia. The report looked to . . . [more]
As I write this, Israel is again engaged in defensive military operations in a renewed attempt to dismantle terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian territories. This latest chapter in the vast novel of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict began with the kidnapping and murder of three young Israeli civilians by alleged Hamas terrorists. It spiralled further out of control when a gang of Israeli youth reacted to the murders by perpetrating their own barbaric vengeance against an innocent Palestinian teen who was kidnapped and burned to death. Although the suspects in the murder of the Palestinian were quickly arrested and charged by Israeli . . . [more]
There has been much debate about the federal government’s decision on June 17th to give a green light to the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline project. And there is obviously much more ahead. This will certainly be a summer of discontent in the communities along the pipeline’s proposed route and elsewhere in British Columbia and across Canada; with plans for rallies, protests and blockades already coming together. There is much to come in the courts as well, with several legal challenges already underway and others soon to follow.
There is, to say the least, much fodder for both protests and . . . [more]
The most recent legal aid data are now available in tabular form on Cansim rather than in the familiar publication , Legal Aid in Canada: Resource and Caseload Statistics, which has been discontinued. Keeping track of trend and change in legal aid has never been more important. Legal aid is by far the largest part of the access to justice landscape in Canada. Even with constraints of the current fiscal realities, or perhaps because of them, legal aid systems have the infrastructure, the expertise and the resources to contribute significantly to expanding access to justice in Canada.
The good news . . . [more]
When it comes to protecting species at risk, and fulfilling mandatory obligations under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), it seems the Federal Government must be goaded into action by litigation brought by conservation groups. Two recent cases highlight government foot-dragging in developing plans to protect species that are at urgent risk, due in part to a lack of “organizational capacity” (i.e. staff cuts). The government will rarely disclose whether a protection plan is even in the works.
The Federal Government did, however, find the time and resources to swiftly downgrade the status of the North Pacific Humpback Whale from . . . [more]
As a Bencher of the Law Society of BC, I voted against the accreditation of TWU Law. I was on the losing side of a 20-7 vote. The next day, my wife and I left for a road trip through the American South.
We started in Chicago, marveled at its architecture for a few days and then took an overnight train to Memphis. From there, we drove down the eastern bank of the Mississippi through the “cradle of the civil war” and over Cajun swamps to our final destination of New Orleans. We drove through the rural sun-baked squalor of . . . [more]